International Tiger Day, held on 29th July every year, is an annual celebration to raise awareness for tiger conservation. It was announced during the St. Petersburg Tiger Summit held in Russia in 2010. The goal of the day is to promote a global system for protecting the natural habitats of tigers and to raise public awareness as also to focus on tiger conservation issues.
Taking stock of the country’s incredible success in tiger conservation, this year’s Global Tiger Day was marked by organizing various programmes including a panel discussion in the gracious presence of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur, Indian Ambassador Vinay Mohan Kwatra and acting Russian Ambassador Evseev Viktor Viktorovich.
Shankar Das Bairagi, Chief Secretary of the government of Nepal on the occasion unveiled a banner, themed “Their Survival is in Our Hands” at a function organized at the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC). The programme was attended by government officials, diplomats and various other conservation stakeholders, who joined hands to celebrate the occasion expressing their solidarity to discuss the future of living with tigers.
“Nepal has been at the forefront of tiger conservation, and this upward trajectory needs to be given continuity,” remarked Prime Minister Deuba, speaking as the chief guest. He underlined the need to deal with issues relating to increasing human – wildlife conflict and to address the impact of linear infrastructure with appropriate mitigation measures.”
“From St. Petersburg in Russia where it all began, to Nepal as a range state, the collective actions of concerned stakeholders have been crucial in Nepal’s tiger success story,” remarked the Russian envoy.
Indian Ambassador Kwatra on the occasion, thanked all 13 tiger range countries, particularly the Russian Federation for this incredible initiative to preserve and record further progress in tiger conservation. “This remarkable collaboration will always be the cornerstone of what countries can achieve when they commit to a common goal of doubling tiger populations by 2022.”
The event was followed by a panel discussion on “Tiger Conservation and Infrastructure Development” represented by panelists, Dr. Deepak Kharal, Director General of DNPWC; Er. Arjun Jung Thapa, Director General of Department of Roads; and Dr. Shant Raj Jnawali, Conservationist, WWF Nepal. The event was moderated by Mr. Shiv Raj Bhatta, Head of Conservation Programs at WWF Nepal and focused on Tiger Conservation and Infrastructure Development. At the event, Chief Guest Dr. Pem Kandel, Secretary, Ministry of Forests and Environment launched the “Connecting Corridors: Terai Arc Landscape” publication published by WWF Nepal, outlining the conservation efforts in managing the importance of the corridor and its functions that facilitate the landscape approach to conservation, along with the ”Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve Management Plan” prepared by Ministry of Forest and Environment, that outlines the action plan and management strategy for the only hunting reserve in Nepal.
Currently, an estimated 235 wild tigers (2018 national census) roam in five tiger reserves across country. This is near double of the baseline of 121 tigers in 2009. If these trends continue, Nepal could easily double its national tiger population (the target is 250) since the ambitious TX2 goal – to double the world’s wild tiger population by 2022 – was set at the St Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010.
Doubling the tiger population
It’s exciting and unprecedented news for this small Himalayan country, one of 13 tiger range countries that pledged to double the number of tigers in the wild within twelve years period. With around 4,000 wild tigers left in the world, more must be done to ensure tiger numbers keep trending upwards. “Every tiger counts, for Nepal and the world,” said Dr. Ghana S. Gurung, Country Representative of WWF-Nepal. “While Nepal is but a few tigers away from our goal to double tiger numbers by 2022, this survey underscores the continued need to ensure protection and improved and contiguous habitats for the long-term survival of the species.”