Tiger Population Doubles in Nepal

By Nina Rygh, Asia Reporter

The wild tiger population in Nepal has nearly doubled over the last nine years according to officials.

A survey earlier this year recorded 235 individuals in Nepal, a substantial increase from an estimated 121 tigers in 2009. The country has instituted a variety of political involvement programs and innovative conservation strategies that are being attributed to the improvement.

"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," said Man Bahadur Khadka, director general of Nepal's Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation.

Conservationists and wildlife protectors used about 600 elephants and over 4 000 cameras and traversed a 2,700-km route across Nepal's southern planes to locate the tigers in their natural habitat.

This growth is also in accordance with the aim of the World Wildlife Foundation’s (WWF) TX2 program that aims to double all populations of tigers around the world. A deadline for the successes of the program is set for 2022. The plan, which is also backed by high profile figures including the actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio, had its first successful moment when global tiger numbers increased for the first time in more than a century in 2016.

"This significant increase in Nepal’s tiger population is proof that when we work together, we can save the planet’s wildlife - even species facing extinction," said Leonardo DiCaprio.

Thirteen countries with tiger ranges have agreed to the plan, which relies heavily on global cooperation to achieve increased protection and maintain habitats for the endangered creatures.