Good News for a Change: Nepal’s Tiger Population is growing quickly 🎥
Nepal’s success story can be attributed to its political commitment towards tiger conservation. Remarkably, Nepal was the first country to achieve global standards in the conservation management of tiger areas. According to WWF (World Wildlife Fund) this has taken place through an accreditation scheme governed by the Conservation Assured Tiger Standards. There are now an estimated 235 wild tigers in the country - almost doubled from its baseline of 120 endangered species in 2009.
A tiger in Dhikala, Nepal. Ranjith Kumar 2016 / CC BY-SA 4.0
“While 235 may seem like a small number, it is still a significant conservation success” says the tiger program senior director for Panthera, John Goodrich (The Global Cat Conservation Group). “And that represents a significant percentage of the world’s total tiger population, estimated at just under 4,000.”
He continues: “Tigers and people don’t live together well. There’s always conflict there, so creating those inviolate reserves where tigers have that peace from people is a big deal.”
The good news was celebrated by environmentalists around the world including actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who is a WWF-US board member. His foundation has funded tiger conservation in Nepal’s Bardia National Park and elsewhere since 2010. His message on Twitter:
Sadly, due to years of illegal poaching, deforestation and encroachment of habitat, in all only roughly 3,890 of the iconic big cats species roaming the planet today - a dramatic decline from the 100,000 about a century ago (according to WWF). They are also crucial to the ecosystems they inhabit in different areas worldwide as top predators.
Apex predators exist at the top of the food chain and have few, if any predators themselves. They serve to keep prey numbers restrained by weeding out the slow, weak and dying animals. Therefore it increases the health of the population and the ecosystem as a whole.
It leaves smaller vegetation for smaller herbivores, allows more saplings to mature and prevents erosion. This on the other hand reduces runoff into rivers and streams in turn reduces flood damage. It is all interlinked to the health and movement of the large prey species and important for a balance in the ecosystem.
Efforts in Nepal have included building corridors to connect patches of protected habitat, identifying prey species, working to improve their population and incentivising community surveillance and the reporting of poaching activities.
In light of its success, we fervently hope the lessons learnt in Nepal can be applied elsewhere, so that apex species make a comeback far and wide.
🎥 Tiger Population sees hopeful rise in Nepal - National Geographic YouTube
Studies of Nepal’s tigers have found a remarkable population increase of 19 percent over a four-year period.
EcoWatch, Sep 2018 (viewed 13.10.2018)
Greener Ideal, 2010 (viewed 13.10.2018)
National Geographic, 2018 (viewed 13.10.2019)