Tiger Camera Trapping in Parsa National Park for the year 2016/17

Posted on Dec 21, 2017 in Blog, News | Comments Off on Tiger Camera Trapping in Parsa National Park for the year 2016/17

We are pleased to confirm we will be funding another year of tiger camera trapping with the ZSL Nepal team in 2018.  Read the latest blog from the field.

“Tiger monitoring is crucial to guiding long-term tiger conservation strategy. In the first place, tiger monitoring allows you to see where tigers are and which habitats are most important. Repeated monitoring goes beyond this and lets you assess whether current tiger conservation activities are helping tigers, and so helps to improve your approach and adapt it to changing needs. To get the best understanding you need regular monitoring using the best techniques. Camera trapping is the best survey technique for tigers. The tigers of Parsa National Park have been monitored through camera trap surveys annually since 2013 so we are building up a very good picture of the population. This is a testament to Nepal’s commitment to its tigers.

In November 2016 ZSL-Nepal and other technical experts met with NTNC technical staff and Parsa National Park officials to plan this year’s tiger monitoring survey, with the permission of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management. The park was divided into a grid of 167 2x2km cells in the same way as it has been for every survey since 2014. This consistency ensures that results can be compared and that we can reliably assess the tiger population trend. We planned to conduct two 21-day phases of camera trapping. Half the grid cells would be camera trapped in phase I, and then the next half in phase II.

A group of 35 field technicians were selected and given training in how to deploy and use camera traps, as well as in the required field skills. And then we were off into the field!

First we conducted a reconnaissance survey to identify the best camera stations in each grid cell. Then we deployed a pair of cameras at each station, just over half a metre from the ground and 6-8 metres apart.

You always need to be ready to adapt to a changing situation in the field. In the first phase of camera trapping, 34 camera trap units were stolen. Luckily our camera trapping plan, like all good plans, had the flexibility built in to address the unexpected. To prevent the loss of further camera traps Parsa National Park management authority increased the frequency of patrolling in the buffer zone boundary, helping to head off any potential thieves. To complete the tiger monitoring with a reduced number of camera traps we extended the survey into 3 phases, with fewer cameras deployed in each phase. This proved successful, potential thieves were deterred and the camera trap survey was completed successfully with around 3,700 camera trap nights completed, and almost 800 images of tigers captured.

The 2016/17 round of camera trapping was generously supported by funding from 21st Century Tiger, Panthera and USFWS.

Till next time,

Transboundary Tiger Project Team”