SAARC ministers to discuss tiger issue in Nepal

17:20, July 13, 2010      

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Nepali government will be hosting the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation ( SAARC) ministerial level meeting in the capital Kathmandu prior to the heads of state tiger meeting scheduled for September in Russia.

According to Tuesday's The Himalayan Times daily, the global tiger meeting in Kathmandu last year had proposed a meeting of heads of state or government from the 13 tiger range countries - Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

"The ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation will discuss issues related to tiger conservation in the SAARC region before the heads of the state meeting, for which the World Bank is providing financial support," said Deepak Bohara, Minister for Forests and Soil Conservation.

South Asian countries (Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Bhutan) are habitat for about 70 percent of the world's tigers. The tiger population has declined from 100,000 to only 3,200 in one century.

In this backdrop, Nepal has committed to double the number of tigers by 2022. To this end, the government recently declared the Banke National Park in western Nepal and increased the tiger habitat by 550 square km. According to tiger census 2009, there are 121 adult breeding tigers in Nepal at present.

According to ministry officials, the tiger conservation meeting will be held in the third week of August and ministers from India, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal will discuss the endangered big cats and provide inputs for the heads of state meeting in September. Invitations will also be sent to ministers from Thailand and Myanmar.

Source: Xinhua


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