Nepal achieves dozen year target for doubling its wild tiger population

KATHMANDU, 30 July 2022:

Nepal has successfully doubled its wild tiger population in 12 years – in line with the global commitment made by the Himalayan nation, the prime minister announced yesterday, coinciding with the International Tiger Day.

“Nepal’s tiger population has reached 355,” Sher Bahadur Deuba announced at an event in Kathmandu to mark the day dedicated to the big cat.

There were 121 tigers in Nepal in 2010, 198 in 2013 and 235 in 2018.

International Tiger Day is celebrated on July 29 every year to raise awareness about the endangered species since 2010 – when 13 tiger range countries came together to launch the Tx2 initiative, a global goal to double the number of wild tigers by the year 2022.

Nepal started the tiger census on 5 Dec 2021, and completed it on March 12.

The Nepal government first started the tiger census in 1995. At that time, there were only 98 wild cats.

Tiger numbers in Nepal have steadily risen since the St Petersburg declaration in 2010 when all 13 range countries committed to double the tiger numbers by 2022.

According to the census, Nepal’s Chitwan National Park houses 128 tigers, followed by 125 in Bardia National Park, 41 tigers in Parsa National Park, 36 in Shuklaphanta National Park and another 25 tigers in Banke National Park.

“This success was possible due to the unwavering political will of the government of Nepal, contributions of many stakeholders including enforcement agencies and conservation partners, but most of all the communities that live alongside tigers,” Ministry of Forests and Environment secretary Pem Narayan Kandel said in a statement.

The international non-profit World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) praised Nepal’s progress in increasing the tiger count.

“WWF in Nepal is privileged to have been one of the contributors to this historic achievement, thanks to all our supporters,” WWF Nepal’s country representative Ghana Shyam Gurung said in a statement.

“Conservation delivery takes time. However, under the leadership of the Nepal government, together with conservation partners and support from our communities, we have been able to live up to the trust of donors and supporters globally,” Gurung added.

Apart from Nepal, the Panthera tigris tigris, or the mainland Asian tiger, is found in India, China, Bhutan, Russia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Laos.