Author Biography

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Local citizens recruited and trained as bagh heralu (“tiger watchers”) helped us to collect information on the distribution of tiger throughout the Terai of Nepal. While the ultimate goal of the bagh heralu program was to map the current metapopulation of tigers in Nepal and to determine extent of breeding outside protected areas, the bagh heralu approach was useful not only because it facilitated data collection but also because it enhanced conservation efforts in multiple ways.Over the five years of the program, bagh heralu became knowledgeable about basic tiger biology and they became recognized in their communities as local tiger experts. Their knowledge of the ecological needs of tigers and strong local interest in the project increased discussions of tiger conservation in local communities throughout the lowlands. This case study indicates that the citizen monitoring programs has the potential to shift some of the responsibility for and economic benefits from biodiversity conservation from government agencies and non-governmental organizations to local communities, thus enhancing efforts to manage resources sustainably across entire landscapes. This case study serves as an example of a citizen monitoring project in a developing country and raises questions relevant to its possible expansion and to broader questions of citizen science in a developing country context.

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