The number of tigers roaming the jungles of Nepal has nearly doubled because of initiatives from the government, conservationists and local authorities who have worked for years to increase the tiger population in the Himalayan nation.
The small Himalayan country has made big efforts to reverse the decline of these incredible animals. A symbol of Asian wildlife, these charismatic creatures have seen their population drop 97% over the past 100 years. Tigers have been facing extinction due to poaching, loss of habitat from urbanization and deforestation, and depletion of prey species. Currently, tigers inhabit about 7 percent of their former range.
Now, Nepal’s success is a shining example of how a concerted effort to enact change can bear positive results.
Nepal’s prime minister Khadga Prasad Oli is involved and heads the National Tiger Conservation Committee. There has been better security in the conservation areas and awareness among the people living near these locations to avoid poaching and killings for retaliation to livestock attacks.
Nepal is one of thirteen tiger range countries — Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam— that signed the TX2 pledge in 2010 to double wild tiger numbers by 2022, the target being set to coincide with the next Year of the Tiger in the Chinese calendar.
In 1900, there were about 100,000 wild tigers, but that number had dropped to 3,000 when the pledge was signed. Gopal Prakash Bhattarai of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation said that the latest tiger count showed there were 235 tigers in the jungles — almost twice as many as the 121 that were found in 2009.
In 2016 WWF announced that the overall wild tiger population showed a positive gain for the first time in more than a century.
There is hope for these majestic animals.