jeremie

Tiger monitoring underway in Nepal's Western Terai

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A new approach in monitoring tigers is currently underway in Nepal's western Terai. The sectoral approach will monitor tiger populations in the entire western belt of the Terai Arc Landscape as a single unit covering Bardia National Park, Banke National Park, Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve and adjoining corridor forests.

 

 

 

The tiger survey will be conducted over a period of about three months using the camera trapping methodology. More than 600 grids measuring 4 sq. km. each will be monitored using 140 sets of camera traps. The monitoring team will also undertake a prey-base survey through line transects and invasive species mapping. The results from the survey will provide an estimate of tiger populations in this western complex to provide further impetus to the national tiger survey scheduled for 2017.

 

http://www.wwfnepal.org/media_room/news/?259810/Tiger%2Dmonitoring%2Dunderway%2Din%2DNepals%2DWestern%2DTerai

 

I would like to take this news to recognize the wonderful job of Nepal to protect its very valuable wildlife and biodiversity. It is the best example that a "poor" country can get significant results if politics are completely committed to this cause.

 

Nepal is on the good way to reach the objectives of the Tx2 project, which aims to double the population of tigers in the world by 2022 compared to 2010. Western Nepal has a tremendous potential to recover, and Chitwan National Park has one of the highest densities of tigers of the Indian Sub-continent.

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Thanks @@jeremie - Nepal is on my buckey list of places to visit - would love to try and see Tiger and One-horned Rhino.

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Easy to see rhinos over there. I have seen 48 in a 10 days trekking in Chitwan to find tiger by foot, but I did not see any :(

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I seen Sloth Bear, leopard, tiger and 17 rhinos in a 2 day visit in Chitwan. But that was way back in 2001. I also visited in feb. 2014, and this time I saw 21 rhinos, gaur and wild elephant but no tiger.I really like the park and The best part about Chitwan is that for 150 US$ you can rent a jeep for a whole day and you hardly see any other cars in the park. I would also love to visit Bardia National Park, very remote and even though tiger numbers are less than Chitwan you chances to see a tiger is very good cause Bardua is not too dense.

All the guides said that the best time to visit Chitwan was march, very hot so the animals concentrate near the waterholes.

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Good news were just released on International Tiger Day. Tiger populations of Parsa and Bardia continue to increase since 2013 last census in Nepal.

Great news for tigers!

 

https://www.panthera.org/tiger-population-rebounds-parsa-nepal-instilling-hope-species

http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2016/07/29/good-news-on-tigerday-tiger-population-rebounds-in-parsa-nepal/

http://tigers.panda.org/news/tiger-survey-bardia-nepal-2016/

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This is good news indeed. Glad the Tiger numbers are increasing there as well, like in India.

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Thanks for posting the links @@jeremie

2 articles about Parsa from Panthera and ZSL, and one about Bardia from WWF.

 

Reading the links about Parsa some things struck me, they don't mention actual numbers only percentages, and the percentages between the articles didn't match. I wondered why, and since I love numbers I looked a bit deeped into it.

 

Panthera:

The 2016 survey confirms that Parsa specifically has seen around a 45% annual increase in its tiger population.

 

ZSL:

In 2013 Nepal was estimated to support 198 Bengal tigers; the latest survey confirms that Parsa is now home to approximately 90% more.

 

Let's just ignore that grammatically the quote from ZSL doesn't make sense, as if Parsa alone would have 90% more tigers now than the whole of Nepal in 2013.

A 45% annual increase over 2-3 years doesn't equal a 90% total increase, odd.

 

But how many tigers are we talking about in Parsa?

 

Here is an article which mentions the number of tigers in Parsa:

Parsa Wildlife Reserve increased tigers to seven from four

.

 

Three(!) tigers! Is that really reason for big news? And these are estimates and estimates come with uncertainty. So I looked into the 2013 report (found here) to see what numbers were estimated and what the uncertainty in those estimates were.

 

In that report they use two different software programs to estimate the number of tigers (CAPTURE and DENSITY), these are the reported estimates:

CAPTURE: 5, ranging from 5 to 11 (95% confidence interval)

DENSITY: 4, ranging from 4 to 9 (95% confidence interval)

 

In other words, in 2013 they were 95% certain that there were between 5 and 11 tigers in Parsa (or between 4 and 9, depending on the software program used). Now, they estimate 7 tigers. So can they claim with certainty that this is an increase from 2013? I don't think so...there could just as well have been 11 in 2013.

 

Looking at the article about Bardia from WWF. Bardia has more tigers and the article states:

A tiger monitoring study conducted in Bardia National Park in Nepal's Terai Arc Landscape has estimated 56 wild tigers, an increase of six from the 2013 estimate for the national park.

 

 

Again, only the best estimate is given, no indication of the uncertainty in the estimate. But the numbers can be found in the same report again.

CAPTURE: 45-64

DENSITY: 46-63

 

The current reported number of 56 is lies well within the confidence limits of the estimate in 2013, so you can't make any claims of an increasing population.

 

So based on this data there is not really any evidence of growing tiger populations between 2013 and 2016 in those areas.

 

Are claims like this valid: Panthera:

Tiger Population Rebounds in Parsa, Nepal, Instilling Hope for the Species

 

ZSL:

Roaring success as tiger population rises in Nepal

 

 

As there is not really any evidence of a growing tiger population in Parsa, and as it only concerns a handful of tigers anyway, I don't think such claims can be made. In fact, both Panthera and ZSL have good scientists, who know what estimates are, and what confidence intervals around estimates mean. But with tiger day in mind, it seemed that the need to publish a success story was bigger than to publish truth.

 

What would be more truthful? The populations of tigers in Parsa and Bardia seem to be stable and are possibly increasing (but the latter depends on the confidence intervals, which aren't published yet, around the published estimates).

 

 

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I think it's dangerous for these organisations to make statements about successes like this. Several so called success stories have been coming out, but if you dig into the data these claims don't seem to stand. Come 2022 it will become clear that they're far from their goal (but then they probably claim that any increase is a success).

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