Nepal’s tiger population has increased significantly, the prime minister of Nepal recently announced. In fact, the population has almost tripled in 13 years.
The tiger population hit a low point in 2010 when only 121 tigers were left in the wild in Nepal, however, extensive conservation efforts have helped increase their numbers by 190%.
Nepal’s success can be put down to several factors, including creating national parks, introducing a wildlife corridor with India, and cracking down on illegal poaching.
WWF Nepal’s Country Director Ghana S. Gurung says,
“This conservation win is a result of political will and concerted efforts of local communities, youth, enforcement agencies, and conservation partners under the leadership of Government of Nepal.”
Field staff spent a total of 16,811 days surveying the tiger popular, scouring over 18,928 sq. km of land- 12 percent of Nepal’s total landmass.
In 2010 the total number of tigers was only 3,200. The population of tigers has been decimated in the last century. A hundred years ago the amount of tigers roaming in the wild was 100,000.
A target to double the tiger population was set in 2010 at the St. Petersburg International summit on tiger conservation. The target year was set as 2022, which was the next Chinese year of the tiger.
Overall the tiger population is beginning to trend upwards. In total, the tiger population in the world has risen by 40% since 2015, according to a new tiger assessment from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Whilst tigers are still endangered, with conservation efforts they could be out of the red in the not-too-distant future.
And it’s not just tigers who may benefit from the conservation efforts underway. Luke Hunter, executive director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) big cat program explained how big tigers can benefit people and biodiversity:
“When you succeed in saving tigers or conserving tigers, you are conserving very large wilderness landscapes, with a huge host of biodiversity but also a whole bunch of benefits to the human communities that live in and around those landscapes,” he said.