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Nepal poised to double its tiger population by 2022

07-30-2012 14:37 BJT

By Sweta Baniya

KATHMANDU, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Nepal is poised to increase the tiger population in the country from 155 last year to 176 this year and to double the number by the year 2022.

The tiger census undertaken in 1995 showed that the number of tigers was down to just 98 that year. However, the latest report released on Sunday by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on the occasion of Global Tiger Day showed that the number has jumped to 176.

Tigers in Nepal are concentrated in the Chitwan National Park with 125; in the Bardia National Park, with 37; in Shuklaphata Wildlife Reserve, 10; and in Parsa Wildlife Reserve, four.

With the slogan, "Stop wildlife crime: its dead serious closer to extinction," Nepal marked the third Global Tiger Day by organizing various programs calling for the conservation of tigers.

In an interview with Xinhua, Krishna Prasad Acharya, director general of Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, said that Nepal is fully committed to tiger protection and to double the number of the endangered species in ten years.

"Poaching has been one of the challenges in tiger protection in Nepal and we have been pushing forward to control wildlife trade and are set to strictly enforce our anti-poaching rules and regulations,"Acharya said.

Speaking on the occasion of Global Tiger Day celebration, Secretary at the Ministry of Forest and Social Conservation Navin Ghimire said the significant increase in the number of tigers has encouraged the government, conservationists and the general public to join hands in further increasing the number of tigers in the years ahead.

"With the cooperation of all sectors, we expect to double the number of tigers by the year 2022," Ghimire said.

For the past three years, Nepal has created anti-poaching units in all national parks in the nation in order to protect Nepal's wildlife, particularly animals that are in danger of extinction.

The government has also increased the areas designated as natural habitats for tigers and encouraged Nepalese to protect not just the tigers but all wild animals within the national parks.

As part of its conservation campaign, in June 2010, China and Nepal signed a Memorandum of Understanding on "Forest and Biodiversity Conservation."

Experts are saying that poverty and political instability in Nepal have emboldened poachers to hunt and kill wild animals and sell them for their hide, meat and bones, which are said to be aphrodisiac or have medicinal values.

Talking to Xinhua, Ecologist Maheshwor Dhakal identified two major actions that are needed for tiger protection, namely providing them with proper habitat, and effective measures against poaching.

Dhakal said there have been some victims of tiger attacks and this has added to the problem of protecting tigers because some people vented their revenge on the endangered animals. This year alone, six people were reported to have been killed due to tiger attack.

According to Dhakal, the government should address this problem by protecting people from tiger attacks. People should be properly warned on the danger of straying into national parks reserved for tigers so that attacks by tigers could be avoided, Dhakal said.

He said there is a need for the government, civil society groups, youths and the general public to work harmoniously in conserving tigers and other wild animals.

Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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