Nepal to Start Fingerprinting Tigers

Nepal will start “fingerprinting” its big cats starting this fall. Under the two-year Nepal Tiger Genome Project, high tech DNA profiling will be done to create a tiger database and the census methodology will start moving away from camera trapping and assessing pugmarks. Teams will fan out to the four national parks in Parsa, Bardiya, Chitwan and Kailali districts where Nepal’s tigers are found, to collect feces. These will then be analysed in the Center for Molecular Dynamics Nepal (CMDN) which is conducting the exercise. Nepal had 155 tigers according to the last census in 2010. The genome database is said to be more accurate than existing methods and will also help identify carcasses found in border areas with India. Scientists in India are also developing DNA databanks of tigers and snow leopards.

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