In 2009, the sobering fact that only 121 Bengal tigers remained in Nepal put the odds of their continued survival pretty low. But according to an announcement made by Nepal’s Department of National parks and Wildlife Conservation, the tiger’s numbers have doubled from just 121 to 235 as of April 2018. These successes are the result of rigorous efforts by the government and various non-profit organizations to protect the tigers.
“This is a result of concentrated unified efforts by the government along with the local community and other stakeholders to protect the tiger’s habitat and fight against poaching,” director general of DNPWC Man Bahadur Khadka told AFP.
“The challenge now is to continue these efforts to protect their habitats and numbers for the long-term survival of the tigers,” he said.
Today, Bengal tigers occupy only a fraction of the territory they once did. Not long ago, these tigers could be found throughout Asia, but now they can only be found in small pockets along the border of Nepal and India. 40% of Asia’s tiger habitats have been destroyed in just 20 years, so while the increase in the Bengal tiger’s population is encouraging, more work must be done.
The success of conservation efforts is based on what Dr. John Goodrich, the senior director of the tiger program for Panthera, “peace and prey.” Given space, protection from poachers, and plenty to eat, the adult animals live longer and are able to birth even more healthy, playful cubs.
“What you want to see in a healthy tiger population is good adult survival,” says Goodrich. And seeing cubs playing is also a very good sign.
“The fact that they are playing suggests that they’re well fed and have the extra energy to play,” Goodrich continued. “You look and think, ‘Wow, this is evidence of a healthy tiger population.’”
As long as efforts continue to keep these tigers safe, their numbers will hopefully continue to rebound.