Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tiger Population Increases in Nepal

A captive tiger in an active mood

It has been recently reported that Nepal has witnessed a rise in its tiger population over the last couple years during which numbers jumped from 155 to 176 animals. The latest count made by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Nepal indicates an increase of 21 tigers from since 2010. Nepal, which was once home to 350 tigers in 2000, had earlier witnessed a downfall in the population to 121 in 2008. Now, this recent report has brought good news for both authorities and conservationists who have been battling the threat of poaching. According to the newly published report of the tiger census released on the World Tiger Day, the greatest surge in numbers has been reported in the Bardiya National Park in western Nepal in the last four years. Since 2008, tiger numbers in Bardiya National Park had swelled to 37 from just 18 individuals. Another notable count was recorded in the Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve in Nepal's far west, where the latest census recorded ten tigers which included six females and four males. The famed Chitwan National Park, which is also a World Heritage Site, has been found to have 126 tigers. The census was conducted by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation with the support of WWF Nepal through camera trapping. As part of the efforts to bolster awareness actions, the World Wildlife Fund has brought in Nepali actor Rajesh Hamal as the Goodwill Ambassador of WWF Nepal for conservation. According to Anil Manandhar, County Representative for WWF, there has to be focus on the conservation of tiger habitat and guaranteeing availability of prey species. He further added that anti-poaching activities need to be intensified along with the control of the wildlife trade.

I'm very happy and proud to see how the tiger population in Nepal has bounced back from low numbers in 2008, to greater numbers over the years. However, I also believe that the recent count is also an indication that poachers would do whatever it takes to go after tigers in the nation. For this reason, it is absolutely crucial to strengthen anti-poaching activities both nationally and internationally. In addition to that, measurements to spread awareness amongst local communities is also essential. The World Wildlife Fund has recently appointed a Nepali actor named Rajesh Hamal as the Goodwill Ambassador for conservation of WWF Nepal. This is one of the ways in which major organizations like the WWF and others persuade the public to stand up for a cause, which in this case is wildlife conservation. I also think that educating the public about the dangers of poaching and illegal wildlife trade, along with the benefits of eco-tourism is another surefire way to provide encouragement in order to help put a stop to any wildlife crimes. Overall, I find that this is extremely good news for Nepal and should be taken as a call in continuation to further strengthen its security against wildlife crimes and conservation of wildlife habitats.

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