Nepal is set to become the first country in the world to double its tiger population as part of the World Wildlife Foundation's (WWF) 'Tx2' programme which aims to double the number of tigers all over the world.
The government of Nepal announced on September 23, 2018, on the occasion of National Conservation Day, that there are now an estimated 235 wild tigers in the nation, nearly double the number from around 121 in 2009.
• Nepal had conducted a national tiger survey between November 2017 and April 2018 in the transboundary Terai Arc Landscape (TAL), a vast area of diverse ecosystems shared with India.
• The survey revealed that Nepal's tiger population rose to 235 from 121 in 2009.
• The earlier tiger survey in 2013 had estimated the tiger population in the nation to be around 198.
• With four years remaining before the 2022 deadline, Nepal looks set to achieve its goal of doubling the tiger population.
• However, this only underscores the continued need to ensure protection and improved and contiguous habitats for the long-term survival of the species.
The success of Nepal in doubling tiger numbers has been largely attributed to the country's political commitment and the adoption of innovative tools and approaches towards tiger conservation.
Nepal was the first country to achieve global standards in managing tiger conservation areas, an accreditation scheme governed by the Conservation Assured Tiger Standards (CA|TS).
Speaking on the development, Nepal's Secretary of the Ministry of Forests and Environment Bishwa Nath Oli said that protecting tigers is a top priority of the government. He further said that the growing numbers signal a successful implementation of the conservation efforts.
According to a press release issued by WWF, Nepal, if these trends continue, Nepal could become the first country to double its national tiger population. The World Wildlife Foundation had launched its ambitious TX2 programme at the St Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010. The programme aims to double the world tiger population by 2022, which is the year of the tiger in the Chinese calendar.
According to the World Wildlife Foundation, there could have been over 100,000 tigers roaming the world a century ago.
However, a number of factors including poaching and habitat loss led to the decline in their numbers. By 2010, only 3,200 were left in the entire world, as per WWF data.
Among the 13 countries with tiger ranges, India recorded the highest tiger population with 2226 tigers in 2016, followed by Russia that had 433 and then Indonesia, which had 371. China had less than five and Vietnam less than seven in 2016.
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