Recently Nepal and India have agreed to join hands in conducting tiger census for developing comprehensive strategy for surveying through unique tiger habitats on either side of the international border. Tiger being a top predator and a transboundary mammal migrates between the two adjoining Tiger Range Countries (TRCs). Hence such joint ventures will help in generating better tiger census data and avoid counting the same individual tiger in two bordering countries. In short, this is the beginning of a new era in Joint Conservation Initiatives (JCI); and the two pioneering nations (Nepal and India) from South Asia could become a successful international model in the long term. China and Nepal has started working together in rhino conservation project, India and Bangladesh are jointly working in the conservation of the mangrove ecosystems of the Sunderbans. India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia are planning to do some joint marine surveys of several marine species including sharks in their common water.
All these are excellent news for South and SE Asia forest and wildlife conservation; however, the cooperation needs to extend far and beyond these initial approaches. Species like migratory birds, some species of Asiatic primates (apes and monkeys), deer and antelopes, pangolins, red panda, all species and subspecies of Asiatic elephants, rhinoceros, clouded leopards, snow leopards, common leopards, tigers and smaller wild cats, riverine dolphins, salt and fresh water crocodiles, ghriayals, monitor lizards, geckos, tortoises, turtles, salamanders, newts to mention only a handful need cooperation of adjoining countries in China, South and SE Asia for saving them. A new beginning has been made; but the efforts and cooperation need to expand between the boundaries of adjoining nations to the China-SAARC-ASEAN platform. Kudos to Nepal and India for embarking on this new initiative for joint conservation effort (JCE)! We hope to see more such cooperation and collaborations with respect to biodiversity conservation across South and SE Asia in the not so distant future.
Saikat Kumar Basu,