For a long time the number of tigers in Nepal was decreasing at an alarming rate. According to a survey conducted by the World Wildlife Fund, the number of tigers in the Sukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve in Nepal fell by about 30% between 2005 and 2008. The decline was such that there were only an estimated six tigers in the reserve in 2009.
The chief cause of this population fall was habitat destruction caused by extensive deforestation. This was exacerbated by the illegal poaching that feeds the enormous demand for trafficked tiger products.
However, last year the government of Nepal announced that amazingly the number of tigers has started to increase. They found that the tiger population had increased by 63 per cent since the last survey in 2009, putting the total number of tigers in Nepal at about 200.
As part of a concerted effort to boost the tiger population, the Nepalese government and the WWF provide training and resources to park rangers, encourage local community engagement, protect tiger habitats and combat illegal poaching.
“Tigers are a part of Nepal’s natural wealth and we are committed to ensuring these magnificent wild cats have the prey, protection and space to thrive,” said Megh Bahadur Pandey, Director General of Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation.
In Pictures: Save the Tiger
In Pictures: Save the Tiger
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Evgeny Lebedev, second left, with rangers from the regional government’s anti-poaching initiative
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A Siberian tiger stands on a hill in the Hengdaohezi Breeding Center for Felidae in Harbin of Heilongjiang Province, China. The center, established in 1986, is the world's biggest captive breeding base for Siberian tigers and more than 800 Siberian tigers have been raised here
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A Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) cools itself down in a pool in Rio de Janeiro
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One of two Siberian tigers, delivered by Russia in a swap deal in which Moscow has procured two Persian leopards, is pictured in Tehran's Eram Zoo
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Tiger skin seized from a smuggler by customs officers in Lhasa, Tibet
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Javan tigers were slightly smaller than their mainland cousins but were renowned for their especially long whiskers (The Image Bank / Getty)
The Image Bank/Getty
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A tiger at India’s Ranthambore National Park where four new sanctuaries and a ‘tiger corridor’ have been approved to stem the animal’s decline
Aditya Singh/AFP/Getty Images
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A Bengal tiger track in Royal Bardia National Park, Nepal
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A Bengal tiger captured by a camera trap in Nepal
“We cannot afford to forget that wildlife criminals are aggressively preying upon the last of the world’s wild tigers and if we allow complacency to creep in, all the conservation gains we applaud today could be gone tomorrow,” added Shubash Lohani, Deputy Director of WWF’s Eastern Himalayas program.
Moreover, the success of the tiger population in Nepal is part of the broader TX2 campaign which aims to double the number of wild tigers by 2022 – the next Chinese year of the tiger.
To make this dream a reality, the WWF relies on the generous support of tiger fans across the world.
Help to save tigers by donating to WWF here.
Or to keep up to date with the latest conservation news check out the following links:
Sources: WWF, Tilson, 'Tigers of the World' (1987)