The results of a nationwide camera trap study suggest Nepal’s tigers have experienced impressive growth, from 198 individuals to 235 tigers over a four-year period. Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC), Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization, ZSL (Zoological Society of London) and WWF conducted two extensive tiger population surveys from 2013-14 and 2017-18 in five National Parks across the lowlands of Nepal to acquire the estimates.
Panthera Tiger Program Senior Director, Dr. John Goodrich, said, “Tiger recovery this rapid is almost unheard of, and Nepal’s outstanding commitment to protecting its wildlife, despite having among the highest human population densities in the world, is an achievement to be celebrated and modelled by other Asian nations fighting for the survival of their heritage and this extraordinary species.”
The empowerment of law enforcement and a broader justice system combatting poaching, authentic support of local communities and consistent scientific population monitoring have created a powerful foundation allowing for the resurgence of Nepal’s tigers. Conservation incentives for local people include employment opportunities in protected areas, well-managed buffer zones around reserves where communities can safely reside, and extensive human-wildlife conflict mitigation efforts including relief funds.
The government recently increased the number of soldiers patrolling the country’s protected areas to 8,000. Now, with approximately one law enforcement ranger stationed per square kilometre, Nepal’s anti-poaching forces are orders of magnitude greater than any other tiger range state in Asia.
Nepal’s Director General of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Mr. Man Bahadur Khadka, said, “Nepal is one of the few countries that committed to double its tiger numbers by 2022 at the Global Tiger Summit held in St. Petersburg in 2010. The current figure shows we are on the right path, but there is still a long and challenging journey ahead. Whatever the challenges may be, we remain committed to ensure that our parks and protected areas continue to display these magnificent animals for our future generations and forever.”
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