The last Global Tiger Day was celebrated in the best way possible – on July 29, Nepal announced that their wild tiger population is no longer considered extinct. Since 2015, the tiger number has grown by 40%, which is an absolute win for wildlife.
Cheering To Nepal Tigers
After the announcement in July, the National Tiger and Prey Survey stated that Nepal’s tiger population almost tripled, all while results counted just the wild animals. Of course, several factors increased the number of Nepal tigers. In 2009, communities started working on the protection of key tiger habitats and corridors. The population grew by 190%. They also partnered with locals, as well as kept close track of poaching and illegal wildlife trade. The best part? Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba talked about Nepal Tigers during the Year of the Tiger, the Chinese lunar symbol in 2022! So far, the number of individual animals reached 355. That said, the team had to spend 16,811 days in the tigers’ natural habitat and cover 18,928 sq. km to complete the survey. Just for the record, that’s more than 12% of the whole country.
Yet, the results are worth it. They prove that there are ways to battle animal extinction with collaborative effort and hope. That’s also a green flag for Nepal’s wildlife future. Back in 2010, multiple governments supported the goal to double the wild tiger population at the St. Petersburg International summit on tiger conservation. The Tx2 finally worked out. In addition to Nepal’s government, WWF-Nepal collaborated with the Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation on the survey. “This conservation win is a result of political will and concerted efforts of local communities, youth, enforcement agencies, and conservation partners,” said Ghana Gurung, Country Director of WWF-Nepal.
Collective Work Saves Wild Tigers
Ginette Henley, Senior Vice President for Wildlife Conservation for WWF in the US, reassured others that teamwork saved Nepal tigers from complete extinction. “Nepal’s new tiger population estimate shows that it is possible to a save species from the brink of extinction and gives us a real reason to celebrate this Global Tiger Day,” she said. “Tigers in Nepal and everywhere else that they live in Asia, about 10 countries, were on a steady decline because of two key reasons. The most immediate reason was poaching for the illegal animal trade. The second reason was loss of habitat. In 2010, it was clear we were going to lose tigers unless we made a concerted effort to turn things around.”
Despite using different extensive tactics, the team was focused on wildlife corridors the most. Those green trails helped to connect different tiger habitats. Thus, they make it easier for the animals to be in groups and socialize, then leave when they grow up. “Nepal has been a pioneer in reforesting areas to make sure those connections are restored and maintained,” Henley explained. The dispersal of grown tigers, too, “is only possible if tigers can move around safely.”
But people partnering with the Nepal government are also responsible for the success. “Communities are the driving force behind this,” she said. “They are employed to do reforestation, maintain that habit, and are directly involved in conservation.”