The recently published ‘Report on Faunal Diversity in Chure Region of Nepal’ identified a female tiger in multiple locations on the border of Rupandehi and Palpa. A male was spotted in northern Kapilvastu, about 40km west of the female.
Nepal’s five Tarai national parks (Parsa and Chitwan in the east and Banke, Bardia and Shuklaphanta in the west) are considered the traditional habitats of the big cats in Nepal. Kapilvastu, Rupandehi and Palpa districts in Central Nepal are equidistant from Chitwan-Parsa in the east and Banke-Bardia in the west.
Individual tigers can be identified by signature stripes on their bodies, and researchers compared camera trap images of the newly discovered tigers with those previously spotted in Chitwan, Parsa, Banke, Bardia and Shuklaphanta during the censuses in 2009, 2014 and 2018, but there were no matches in the tiger data base.
Nine months ago, a newly-identified female tiger was reported to have attacked a villager 25km away from the area where it was spotted. Since these two locations are connected via a forest corridor, conservationists speculate that it may be the same tiger.
Seven conservationists including Lamichhane and Naresh Subedi have tried to find out whether the recently detected male and female tigers have crossed paths and mated. They do not know for sure yet.
Another study carried out by NTNC and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) spotted four tigers this year in a forest in Rautahat bordering Parsa National Park.
Apart from these, the big cats have been seen roaming the Brahmadev-Laljhadi corridor of Kanchanpur district in the far-western plains. Another strip of forest in Kailali connecting Shuklaphanta and Bardia National Parks has also recorded tigers.
The Kamdi Corridor, which connects Banke National Park with India’s Sohelwa Wildlife Sanctuary and facilitates the movement of wildlife between the two countries, is also home to abundant tigers. They have also started appearing in the hill forests north of Chitwan National Park.
In the last census in 2018, Nepal counted 235 tigers in five national parks, becoming the first country to double the population of its big cats, from 121 in 2009. Chitwan National Park had the highest number of tigers at 93, followed by Bardia that registered 87 individuals and Banke 21. There were 18 more in Parsa and 16 in Shuklaphanta.