One of the saddest things that many of us ever hear about is when an animal is entered on the endangered species list. We realize that once an animal is gone, there is no hope of bringing it back, so we do all that we can to protect those animals that are now considered endangered. Last September, there was some rather wonderful news that came out of Nepal and it took many people by surprise.
It was reported that there were almost 235 tigers that were alive in the wild within their borders. That may not seem like a very big number but when you think about the growth that has occurred over the past decade, it is absolutely phenomenal. In 2009, the only tigers that were within their borders and counted were 121. That means that the wild tiger count has almost doubled since 2009.
Nepal is on track to be one of the first of 14 countries to double the Tiger population. The St. Petersburg Tiger summit of 2010 asked those nations to do so. It was an aggressive goal, known as the TX 2 goal and it had the goal of doubling the tiger population in the world by 2022.
Photo: Rahulsharma photography
Between November 2017 and April 2018, a national tiger survey took place in a variety of ecosystems. It was on the border between India and Nepal and the current tiger population was at 235. 198 were estimated in the 2013 count.
“This significant increase in Nepal’s tiger population is proof that when we work together, we can save the planet’s wildlife – even species facing extinction,” said Leonardo DiCaprio, WWF-US board member and chairman of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which has funded tiger conservation in Nepal’s Bardia National Park and elsewhere since 2010. “Nepal has been a leader in efforts to double tigers within its own borders and serves as a model for conservation for all of Asia and the world. I am proud of my foundation’s partnership with WWF to support Nepal and local communities in doubling the population of wild tigers.”
Nepal achieved the global standard before any other country. There are only four years left until the 2022 goal so other countries need to follow in their footsteps when it comes to tiger conservation.
In addition to the good news about tigers, Nepal also says that there were no tigers being poached between 2011 and 2018.
Photo: Derrick Brutel
“Every tiger counts, for Nepal and for the world,” stated Dr. Ghana S Gurung, Country Representative, WWF-Nepal. “While Nepal is but a few tigers away from our goal to double tiger numbers by 2022, it also underscores the continued need to ensure protection, and improved and contiguous habitats for the long-term survival of the species.”
The Government of Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation and Department of Forests, in partnership with WWF-Nepal, National Trust for Nature Conservation and Zoological Society of London (ZSL) Nepal took the lead in the survey. It was funded by WWF, ZSL Nepal, National Trust for Nature Conservation, USAID’s Hariyo Ban Program II, KfW/IUCN, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, Panthera and WildCats Conservation Alliance.
That may seem like a lot of people and organizations but it is necessary if they are going to reach the goal.