The results are in: in less than a decade, Nepal has managed to almost double its small tiger population. Though the animals are still endangered, this is a huge milestone for the country and conservation efforts worldwide.
Through a number of predictive efforts between November of last year and April of 2018, the estimated number of wild tigers in Nepal has boosted to 235, almost twice the number in 2009. Back then, Nepal homed an estimated 121 tigers.
Conservationists were able to get these estimations with the help of cameras and other forms of monitoring devices.
This was, in part, thanks to a larger goal set at the St Petersburg summit back in 2010. There, a pledge was made to double the number of tigers spanning 13 countries by 2022. This will bring the population up to around 6,000.
It was also thanks to the efforts of actor Leonardo DiCaprio who has helped fund conservation in Nepal through his foundation.
But what decreased the tiger population in the first place?
The primary cause, of course, is humans. Communities don’t know how to live near tiger populations. Tigers will feed off livestock, while we promote the destruction of their habitat for fuel and economic expansion. Back in 1999, 14 million trees were cut down to create 10 billion paper bags in the span of one year.
On top of that, tigers are prized for their pelts and have suffered due to game hunting. Others are scared of tigers even though they rarely kill humans. In fact, dogs are more likely to attack and kill than tigers.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, more than 4.5 million dog bites happen in the United States every year. Worldwide, over 25,000 people die because of dog attacks annually. This makes dogs the sixth most likely cause of death for humans after driving, mosquitos, eating, obesity, and snakes, according to the World Health Organization.
Tigers? They kill around 120 people annually. And this is usually the result of human provocation.
One of the main efforts in Nepal has been to educate its populace and fight against poaching. Research and conservationists alike have also worked to build livestock pens that cannot be breached by tigers.
Additionally, conservation efforts have also encouraged locals to plant biogas plants, a source of alternative fuel. This will help prevent locals from cutting down forests for firewood and further damaging tiger habitats.
This is just one stepping stone for the conservationists to double the overall tiger population by 2022.
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