The NEPAL TIGER PROJECT began in April 2011 when founder John Brooks, a retired federal agent and wildlife biologist, traveled to Nepal with Anna Bach, a practitioner of Tibetan medicine, to support her in the effort to locate some specimen of a tree locally known as the Arura tree. John and Anna, accompanied by local Sherpa guides, walked two days from a remote bus stop into the Okhaldhunga District of Nepal’s Himalaya mountain range. Local villagers mentioned in passing, that tigers were living within the jungle of their village. The villagers provided significant evidence that the reclusive predators had been in the area during the previous two years. Two nights latter, a new born calf was reported taken by a tiger by a villager woman. This information was provided to major conservation groups, however, no action was taken on their part to investigate the claims.
In the fall of 2012, John returned to Nepal with the goal of confirming the presence of tigers in the Okhaldhunga District. Villagers were interviewed, camera “traps” were placed, and scat samples and paw prints were documented. The evidence collected offered a strong case for the presence of tigers in the area. John and his team were able to photographically document the presence of the endangered Himalayan leopards but no tigers were spotted. Although the tigers eluded the camera traps, the team was very excited to record eyewitness accounts of their presence and looked forward to returning on location to obtain conclusive proof of a small tiger population. As one villager put it: “The tiger can see you and will show himself when he is ready.” John believes that capturing the tiger on camera is just a matter of time and persistence.
The Nepal Tiger Project continued looking for signs in the fall of 2013 during the month of September. The rains were too frequent and did not allow the team to track the moment of large cats. In addition, the presence of the Asiatic black bear in the area made it difficult to move quietly through the jungle.
In the spring of 2014, John and a few volunteers tracked leopards, black bear, lungur monkeys, and red pandas within their project area. Tigers were reported to have been vocalizing through the night, however, no signs of “pugmarks” were spotted.
With less than 230 tigers known to exist in Nepal and less than 3,300 worldwide, The Nepal Tiger Project is a worth while venture. In addition, the Project will be working with the local villagers and schools to educate them on conservation of wildlife in the area and assist them with techniques for living with an established population of predatory cats. Among the many villagers contacted in 2012 and 2013, the response to our program was overwhelmingly positive.
For more information on how you can become involved, contact us and tell a friend!
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