Nepal is having a tiger boom, with population numbers almost doubling within the last nine years.
Not only is this fantastic news for the Nepal tiger population, but sends a hugely positive message to conservationists worldwide.
It was announced by officials in Kathmandu on Monday, September 24th that, whilst the country may be impoverished, the drive to save its big cats was a huge success so far.
Nepal is now the first country in the world to achieve this amazing feat. Numbers of wild tigers have risen from 121 in 2009 to approximately 235.
Channel News Asia stated that “Wildlife groups have welcomed the news as a sign that political involvement and innovative conservation strategies can reverse the decline of the majestic Royal Bengal tiger.”
“Conservationists and wildlife experts used more than 4,000 cameras and around 600 elephants, trawling a 2,700-km route across Nepal’s southern planes where the big cats roam.” – Channel News Asia
Director general of Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Man Bahadur Khadka, spoke with AFP about the developments. “This is a result of concentrated unified efforts by the government along with the local community and other stakeholders to protect the tiger’s habitat and fight against poaching,” he said.
Ghana Gurung, country representative of WWF in Nepal was also celebrating the developments, citing Nepal as a wonderful example of what can be achieved through a concentrated conservation effort.
“The challenge now is to continue these efforts to protect their habitats and numbers for the long-term survival of the tigers,” – Ghana Gurung, WWF
Conservationist and wildlife advocate Leonardo DiCaprio, whose non-profit Foundation has a strong partnership with WWF, also expressed his joy at the developments.
— Leonardo DiCaprio (@LeoDiCaprio) 23 September 2018
It was in 2010 that a treaty was signed by Nepal and 12 other countries, which pledged to double tiger numbers in the region. The Tiger Conservation Plan sought to undo many of the damaging factors which had resulted in the animals’ decline, including habitat loss and poaching.
Reports indicate that, a little over a century ago, there were upwards of 100,000 tigers in the wild. That number sharply declined to just over 3,000 in 2010, when the plan was drafted. With any luck, Nepal will be the first country to show such improvements, with many more to follow.