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Tigers Among People

September 24, 2012

Tigers in Nepal are adapting to the presence of humans by changing their daily routine.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Tigers among people…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Tigers are highly endangered, with less than 4,000 remaining in the wild. But in Nepal’s Chitwan National Park, they appear to be adapting to the presence of humans. This according to Michigan State University conservation scientist Neil Carter. He and his colleagues set up motion-activated camera traps in the park, which snapped photos of the big cats as they wandered by.

NEIL CARTER (Michigan State University):

We expected that given the tigers’ elusive and shy nature that they would avoid people.

HIRSHON:

But instead, his team found that the tigers used the same trails and roads as humans and motorized vehicles. But they shifted their hunting schedule to nighttime, when humans were asleep.

HIRSHON:

Carter adds that the tiger population appears to be stable and possibly even increasing in the area. He says this may be thanks to government crackdowns on tiger poaching as well as the ready availability of prey. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

A tiger sets off a camera trap in Nepal's Chitwan National Park (Neil Carter/Michigan State University)