The Parsa Wildlife Reserve and the Bara Forest have received scant conservation attention, despite the ability to accommodate the growing tiger population in the adjacent Chitwan National Park. There is strong evidence to suggest that these areas are being used regularly by tigers.
Bara represents excellent tiger habitat with a good mix of old growth forest and riverine grasslands. However, protection is lacking in the Bara forest, creating an easy target for tiger poachers compared to the heavily protected Chitwan National Park.
This Zoological Society of London project aims to tighten protection in this area using community based antipoaching units whilst monitoring the status of tigers and their prey.
Chitwan National Park and Parsa Wildlife Reserve are fully protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 2029 (1973). When this project started, Bara Forest had only been given only a medium level of protection which was not sufficient for adequate tiger protection. It was heavily exploited, with illegal cattle grazing and human disturbance regularly occurring in core areas of the forest. Tigers in Bara Forest were likely become an easy target for poachers as the protection measures in place at Chitwan did not extend to this area.
Connectivity between these areas remains good so far,and with proper managment Parsa-Bara could support an additional 30-40 tigers.
Since the beginning of this project, 127 km2 of the Bara forest has been brought under the same protective legislation as Parsa and Chitwan. This means that the same level of protection will now be given to this area.
Although it will take some time to impact on local prey and tiger populations, this is a great achievement for the team on the ground.
Progress has been made towards establishment of Community Based Anti-poaching Units (CBAPUs) in Bara-Parsa Complex. These CBAPUs will comprise 13 community level anti-poaching units. In the wake of recent earthquake in Nepal, there was a delay in starting the project but teams have been identified and training is now scheduled.
127km2 of the Bara forest has been gazetted into the Parsa Wildlife Reserve. 13 CBAPUs are trained in patrolling techniques and SMART data collection and have been provided with equipment and supplies with which to patrol PWR and the Bara forest.