Kathmandu: Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba announced today this historic increase in the nation’s tiger population from the baseline established in 2009 – an increase of over 190 percent. These results are from Nepal’s National Tiger and Prey Survey 2022. The survey highlights the importance of maintaining and rigorously protecting core habitats, partnering with communities to integrate conservation and development needs, and expanding conservation interventions to include corridors and habitats beyond existing protected areas.
An extensive effort covering 18,928 sq. km – over 12 percent of the country – and 16,811 days of field staff time was invested to complete the survey. The results bring both great hope and reassurance about tigers’ long-term future in Nepal.
The target to double wild tigers, also known as Tx2, was set by governments in 2010 at the St. Petersburg International summit on tiger conservation. With this announcement Nepal is the first country to release updated tiger numbers during the Year of the Tiger. Tiger range countries are meeting next month to begin discussions on the next 12-year commitments for tiger conservation under the Global Tiger Recovery Program.
WWF-Nepal was an implementing partner in the survey which was led by the Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation with support also from other conservation organizations (National Trust for Nature Conservation and ZSL Nepal). WWF-Nepal was involved from survey design to data analysis via both technical and financial support to the Government.
While the future of Nepal’s tigers across vast landscapes has always been a challenge in the face of various threats, the latest estimate indicates the relevance of the conservation measures that have been implemented by the Government, WWF and other organizations working in the sector.
Ghana S. Gurung, Country Director, WWF- Nepal said, “This conservation win is a result of political will and concerted efforts of local communities, youth, enforcement agencies, and conservation partners under the leadership of Government of Nepal.”
Stuart Chapman, Tigers Alive Initiative Leader, WWF said “The doubling of Nepal’s tiger population is an extraordinary achievement and is the result of sustained conservation effort over many years. Nepal has demonstrated the highest conservation standards in reaching this historic milestone. There is clearly much to learn from Nepal’s tiger population recovery over the last 12 years.”
Ginette Hemley, Senior Vice President for Wildlife Conservation, WWF-US said, “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. We have been eagerly anticipating this new information because Nepal’s previous survey in 2018 was just shy of doubling the population baseline set in 2009. It is remarkable to see what twelve years of high-level political commitment, dedicated conservation action, partnership with local communities, and collaboration between the government and conservation organizations can accomplish.”
“We hope the US will be inspired by Nepal’s success and finally do its part to curb the illegal tiger trade by passing the Big Cat Public Safety Act. This legislation will support tiger conservation by tracking who owns captive tigers across the US, when tigers are sold and traded, and what happens to their valuable parts when they die. This information will help ensure parts from captive tigers in the US are not filtering into the illegal trade and perpetuating demand overseas, which is the most immediate threat to tigers’ survival.”