‘Living with Big Cats’

Our Human and Big Cat Coexistence Strategies Platform

 

 The important tiger landscape consisting of Bardiya and Banke National Parks (Nepal) as well as Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary (India) faces many challenges.  WildTiger works alongside partners in developing and implementing coexistence strategies.

Update November and December 2021 through January 2022 – Please read below to understand how our coexistence strategies have evolved including in response to a high level of human – wildlife conflict. As this site transitions leading up to the Year of the Tiger beginning 1 February 2022, we’ll bring more information on our increased emphasis on alternative livelihoods (example Conservation Honey) so as to reduce forest use (risk aversion) as well as news on an exciting new partnership in our education program (example Tiger English). 

 WildTiger in conjunction with the Community Based Anti-Poaching Unit (CBAPU) is distributes education/awareness information to schools and community groups in the highly affected areas.  Guidelines are tailored according to the situation in different areas with information based around a model with the front page as below:

Important information at this link:

Why Big Cats are Important

In the image above Sushila hands out guidelines in coordination with school principals in highly affected areas.

In the image above Nirajan Chhetri, our Community Conservation Officer, presents educational support funds to a family which has suffered loss because of a tiger attack.  Nirajan, who is kindly sponsored by the Katie Adamson Conservation Fund (KACF), works under the guidance of Ujalo Nepal in this particular project. which is also supported by KACF.

WildTiger works closely with the National Trust for Nature Conservation – Bardiya Conservation Project (NTNC – BCP) regarding the monitoring of big cat activity particularly in areas close to human settlements.   The Living with Big Cats Team as part of and in collaboration with the Community Based Based Anti-Poaching Unit (CBAPU) continues to communicate guidelines to key areas where conflict between humans and big cats (leopards and tigers) occurs. These guidelines are available in Nepali and English languages with a Tharu equivalent in development. 

 

Another evolving project which has attracted a lot of attention is the Living with Big Cats wildlife kid’s classes which are spread across several villages in our coexistence developing model area in the vicinity of Bardiya National Park, west Nepal. The program has been in development since an early concept phase called Living with Leopards in 2017. Wildlife education classes have been held in several villages in the Bardiya district as well as workshops and visits to the national park.  We thank Shelly Voight of Australia for the kind supply of masks which are very popular with the children particularly in dance and drama.  For 2021, with consideration given to the current pandemic covid-19, we settled on a structure which you can read about below as we evolve the program into Tiger English for 2022.

 

Ashish Bashyal, the head of Biodiversity Conservancy Nepal and a frequent visitor to Bardiya for conservation field work involving different species is now in charge of facilitating online classes.  We take this opportunity to thank French charity, Nepally Dream, for their sponsorship of wifi at a main teaching location and of a mobile router which is a great tool giving us flexibility under covid conditions.  

Nature guides Sushila and Manju Mahatara  have been taking classes and workshops since the inception of LBC and in line with our transition leading up to the Year of the Tiger 2022 we look forward to announcing details of our newly formed collaboration with the Jane Goodall Institute (Nepal) as LBC morphs with their Roots and Shoots Program.

Understanding the importance of wildlife and coexistence has been the major philosophy behind the program. WildTiger appreciates the specific and ongoing support of YETI (Youth Education and Training Initiatives), a New Zealand organization as we evolve the program into an assignment based platform as well as initiating a partnership with Books for Asia meaning more reading resources available in local dialects, especially Tharu language.

Art classes have been popular with the kids as a learning tool.

Jungle visits and cultural dances have also been part of the learning.

Here long time Bardiya visitor and WildTiger supporter Bernd Hirthe from Germany shows some children a wildlife card he developed…

…and Katy, a whale conservationist from the US, gives the kids a whole new perspective of conservation away from the jungle.

Below is an example of how the children not only learn about wildlife and coexistence but how they communicate the message to the community and beyond:

This drama was a WildTiger initiative as part of Living with Big Cats. Our thanks to Living with Big Cats supporters including YETI Nepal Trust (New Zealand), Katie Adamson Conservation Fund (KACF) and Nepally Dream as well as individual supporters, Our thanks also to collaborators including Bardiya National Park (BNP), National Trust for Nature Conservation – Bardiya Conservation Project (NTNC – BCP), Biodiversity Conservation Nepal, Community Based Anti-Poaching Unit (CBAPU Bardiya), Samsara Safari, Riverside Resort, Babai Resort. This drama was written and performed to be used a conservation tool to promote human and wildlife coexistence under the developing model of Living with Big Cats.

Integral to WildTiger’s coexistence efforts is our relationship in the Bardia National Park with the Community Based Anti-Poaching Unit (CBAPU) headed by Hemanta Acharya (image above). Hemanta joined forces with WildTiger in 2010 (the previous Year of the Tiger) and has won national recognition for his efforts in strengthening the CBAPU. Now as we approach the next Year of the Tiger in 2022, the CBAPU and WildTiger along with other stakeholders continue to build capacity on the ground to mitigate human-wildlife conflict and combat wildlife crime.

LeopardEye is best described as an interface for human and wildlife activity and technology. Protection of forest areas in conjunction with local organizations and authorities is a WildTiger priority. WildTiger coordinator Jack Kinross (above) works closely with the National Trust for Nature Conservation and other agencies in Asia with supply and training using state of the art equipment.