Nepal is home to the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger. The attractive, beautiful but fierce animal is found in the national parks situated in the southern plains of the country. What is remarkable is the fact that the strong conservation efforts implemented over the past several years have paid off as the population of the big wild cat has gradually gone up in the country. The successful conservation efforts have without doubt helped protect the rare species from facing total extinction in the country.
It is heartening to note that Nepal is all set to become the first of 13 range countries to fulfill its tiger conservation commitments and achieve the target of doubling its tiger population by 2022. This target to double the tiger population was set during the Global Tiger Summit held in Russia in 2010 when the tiger population in Nepal was only 121. According to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, a 2018 tiger census had shown that there were 238 breeding Royal Bengal Tigers in the country. The Chitwan National Park, popular across the world, is the largest habitat for the big cats as it shelters 93 of them. Bardiya National Park, known for its effective conservation of the rare species, hosts 87 tigers. Banke is home to 21 tigers and Sukhlaphnata has 16 animals. Sources at these national parks have said that while conducting conservation works, they have detected paws of many tiger cubs, which has hinted that the tiger population is on rise in these areas.
In the past, the loss of 'top carnivore' was caused mainly by illegal killing and poaching. The poaching has still been taking place, though sporadically, despite the big cat’s listing as the endangered animal by ICUN and CITES prohibiting the international trade of tigers. The killing of tigers is still happening as there is demand for tiger organs in the world, allegedly for their aphrodisiac and traditional medicinal properties. Loss of habitat, human-animal conflict, diseases and deadly fights for domination over areas and females are other major reasons that have led to the fall in the tiger populations. But now, the trend in the decrease of the tiger population appears to have been bucked, thanks to the successful conservation efforts.
Concerned authorities need to undertake some effective measures to protect and also to double the number of these rare animals. Poaching of big cats must be eradicated entirely. Also necessary are the efforts to protect habitat, stop human-tiger faceoff, treat the diseased animals and to let the nature's top carnivore roam freely in the forests to kill their preys, mate and bring forth their progeny. Since climate change and pandemic like COVID-19 also pose difficulty in the tiger conservation, these two factors need to be taken care of. The necessity of the protection of beautiful animal was highlighted by none other than Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli himself in his message delivered on the International Tiger Day. The PM waxed eloquent about the beautiful animal, a gift from nature that needs to be protected for our future generations. The tiger conservation is also necessary to protect clean ecosystem, essential for human beings to keep themselves protected. If our authority implements all the conservation efforts efficiently and effectively, Nepal will definitely be the first of 13 tiger range nations to have successfully doubled tiger population by 2022.