Nepal and India today inked a key pact to conserve biodiversity and combat illegal trade in wild animals coinciding with the first International Tiger Conservation Day.
"As Nepal and India are facing similar challenges in conserving the biodiversity, including the tiger, the signing of the joint resolutions gives us the responsibility to take the lead role in protecting tigers and showcasing to the world that together we can make a huge difference," said inister for forest Dipak Bohara, who was present at the function in the capital.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which aims to conserve biodiversity and strengthening ecological security in the trans-boundary region, was signed by Gopal Prasad Upadhyaya, director general, department of national parks and wildlife conservation, Nepal and SPYadav, DIG and joint director, national tiger conservation authority, ministry of environment and Forest, India.
"After signing the MoU with China in June to control illegal trade we expect to enter into a similar agreement with India in the near future," Bohara said.
Besides having a common boundary, Nepal and India are facing similar challenges of tiger conservation, joint director Yadav pointed out.
India and Nepal had excellent working relations in the past and the formalisation of this relation is another milestone, he said.
As the combined population of tigers in Nepal and India is more than half of the world population, joint efforts are essential for the conservation of tigers, he pointed out.
The bilateral pact was an outcome of the 4th Nepal-India Consultative Meeting on trans-boundary Biodiversity Conservation at the ministry of forest in Kathmandu, according to a statement issued by the ministry.
The signing of the pact is a step forward towards strengthening bilateral cooperation and trans-boundary conservation, said Upadhyaya.
India's three national parks and conservation areas Dudhwa Katrnighat, Balmiki and Sohelwa with the combined tiger population of 150 have been connected to Nepal's national parks. Thus joint efforts between the two neighbouring countries are essential for better conservation of tigers and checking illegal trade in tiger parts, accoding to experts.
The pact is a key step towards the signing of the MoU on biodiversity conservation between the two countries, according to experts.
The pact stresses on bilateral and regional cooperation including establishing a joint monitoring mechanism for interaction and intelligence sharing and exploring funding opportunities with special focus on the protected areas of the Terai Arc Landscape in both Nepal and India.