Location: Parsa National Park (PNP), Central Nepal
Goal: Securing and improving habitat in the extension area of PNP will contribute to supporting the increasing number of tiger and prey populations.
Objective 1: Conduct habitat mapping to identify the key habitat types of the extended area of PNP
Objective 2: Support PNP to manage 20 ha of grassland in an extended area
Objective 3: Support PNP to construct and manage one new waterhole in an extended area
Objective 4: Conduct hotspot/dispersal monitoring in an extended area of PNP throughout the project period
Background: This project is a continuation of previous projects funded by WildCats Conservation Alliance based in the extension area of Parsa National Park. Tiger population growth in Parsa National Park has supported around a 30% increase in Nepal’s tiger population in the last four years. ZSL has been working to secure Parsa’s tiger population as a future source population by supporting the implementation of evidence-based conservation measures.
As the tiger population continues to grow in Parsa, it needs more suitable habitat to support the increasing numbers. A recent Government led assessment of the ecological carrying capacity of the tiger in Chitwan-Parsa Complex estimates that the current prey densities in Parsa can support over 39 adult tigers. Though the number estimated by this assessment is still more than double of the current population, habitat restoration has been identified as necessary in this extension area due to predominant drier soil conditions and fewer water sources. This is highlighted by the lower prey density in Parsa (30.91 individuals/km2) compared to Chitwan (71.58 individuals/km2).
Based on the habitat mapping and field observation results, ZSL will provide technical support for the expansion of 20 ha of grassland habitat at a strategic location within the extension area of PNP to create favourable habitat for tigers and its prey. Grasslands will be managed following the established management guideline.
The project will also support PNP to construct a waterhole in an appropriate location within the extension area of PNP as a year-round source of water for wildlife. The location will be identified based on habitat mapping that includes the mapping of existing wetlands/water bodies in the extension area and field observations.
This will contribute to Nepal’s National Tiger Recovery Plan (NTRP) which calls for the doubling of tiger numbers by 2022 (121 to 250, based on 2009 figures).