Nepal’s wild tiger population has nearly doubled over the last nine years, in a move which has amazed animal-lovers across the globe.
Wildlife and conservation groups have welcomed the news, proving how strong will and determination can help preserve and protect animals in the wild.
Officials announced the small nation now has an estimated 235 wild tigers, up from 121 back in 2009.
And this is an incredible achievement. According to the WWF, wild tiger numbers have dropped by more than 95 per cent since the beginning of the 20th century.
But now, for the first time in conservation history, their numbers are on the rise.
Man Bahadur Khadka, director general of Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, told AFP:
This is a result of concentrated unified efforts by the government along with the local community and other stakeholders to protect the tiger’s habitat and fight against poaching.
Conservationists and wildlife experts used more than 4,000 cameras and around 600 elephants, along a 1,700-mile route across Nepal’s southern plains in which the tiger’s inhabit, proving it was no small feat.
Nepal showed just how invested it was as a nation in increasing its wildlife figures through the 2010 Tiger Conservation Plan.
Within this, Nepal and 12 other countries signed a pledge to double their tiger numbers by 2022. Clearly, Nepal is ahead of the game and is set to achieve this a whole four years early!
This has been confirmed, as according to the WWF, Nepal is now set to become the first country to double its national tiger population since the ambitious goal was set in 2010.
The Plan quickly became popular, picking up more and more fruition with famous celebrities such as Leonardo Dicaprio backing it and getting behind the pledge.
Dicraprio is a 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.
Since announcing their success, Dicaprio has come out in support of Napal, tweeting:
I am proud of @dicapriofdn’s partnership with @World_Wildlife to support Nepal and local communities in doubling the population of wild tigers.
— Leonardo DiCaprio (@LeoDiCaprio) September 23, 2018
With such celebrities backing the cause, it is hoped that other countries will get behind it and become more involved in saving our wildlife.
Ghana Gurung, country representative of WWF in Nepal, said the country’s progress was an example for tiger conservation globally.
The challenge now is to continue these efforts to protect their habitats and numbers for the long-term survival of the tigers.
And it is clear that more still needs to be done.
Tigers are still facing threats every day from loss of habitat, human-wildlife conflict and poaching for the illegal wildlife trade.
Tiger bones, skin, claws and other body parts are sold in the illegal wildlife trade, mainly in Asia, where they are used for both medicine and as status symbols.
The WWF are working to end illegal wildlife trade, therefore helping to protect animals in the wild, and you can help them by signing this petition.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]