21st Century Tiger’s grant to tiger conservation in Parsa Wildlife Reserve has played a part in the doubling of tiger numbers in Nepal in three year.
Thanks to conservation efforts led by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, supported by the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC), Panthera and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Nepal is on its way to doubling tiger numbers by 2022.
Survey figures released in July 2016 show that endangered Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris) numbers have risen dramatically since the partners began their important conservation work in the Chitwan-Parsa tiger complex in 2014.
ZSL’s Conservation Programmes Director, Professor Dr Jonathan Baillie said: “Success for tiger conservation requires viable habitats, stringent protection, effective monitoring and community engagement and when those conditions are in place, tiger numbers will flourish as Parsa Wildife Reserve in Nepal has demonstrated very clearly. Nepal’s exemplary track record in conserving its iconic wildlife makes it a conservation leader in the South Asian region.”
Today, just 3,900 wild tigers remain in all of Asia, largely due to poaching for the illegal wildlife trade. In 2013 Nepal was estimated to support 198 Bengal tigers; the latest survey confirms that Parsa is now home to approximately 90% more.
Nepal’s Director General of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Krishna Prasad Acharya said: ‘The tiger population in Parsa Wildlife Reserve has significantly increased since the last census, this is fantastic news for tigers and it demonstrates that Nepal’s dedicated conservation efforts are delivering clear results. Nepal has committed to doubling its tiger population by 2022 and encouraging results like these show that we are on track to achieve that.”
Panthera Senior Tiger Program Director, Dr. John Goodrich, stated: “The impressive doubling of tigers in Parsa, and the almost unprecedented speed of this recovery, is testament to how law enforcement and strong government leadership can help save the species. At a time when poachers are waging an all-out war against wildlife, Nepal serves as a beacon of hope for the tiger.”
Goodrich continued: “The country’s conservation model and the courageous spirit of those working to protect Nepal’s natural heritage, particularly given the devastating earthquake of April 2015, must be celebrated and replicated to ensure the tiger lives on throughout Asia.”
The Chitwan-Parsa complex – made up of Chitwan National Park and the Parsa Wildlife Reserve -contains nearly 2000 km2 of contiguous tiger habitat and is one of the highest priority landscapes for conservation in Nepal.