There are fewer than 4,000 tigers left in the wild across Asia. International conservation charity ZSL are working to double Nepal’s tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) population, with the help of UK Aid Match funding.
Nepal’s wild tigers increased to 235 in 2018 from only 121 in 2008 thanks to dedicated conservation by local people, the Nepali government and ZSL. But the future of these extraordinary animals is a long way from secured.
“In Nepal we are very proud of our wildlife, but when peoples’ livelihoods are threatened, some are pushed into wildlife crime to support their families, such as going into national parks to hunt,” said ZSL’s Nepal Country Manager, Dr Hem Baral. “ZSL has been working in Nepal for nearly 25 years, supporting communities and changing attitudes towards wildlife conservation. With starter loans and training, people can build legal, safer and more sustainable livings such as: dairies, hotels, beauty salons and tailor’s studios. This breaks their dependence on the forest.”
In the borderlands of Nepal’s national parks, persisting poverty still pushes people to enter the forests, risking their lives and the integrity of the tigers’ habitat. With human populations growing, competition for space and resources increases, and the survival of local wildlife hangs in the balance. Without further support for communities, trees continue to be cut down; rivers overfished; and deer, that sustain large predators, hunted unsustainably.
ZSL, working alongside Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, is changing this.
Through its UK Aid Match appeal – For People. For Wildlife. – ZSL will expand programmes in Nepal helping communities to plan and create environmentally sustainable ways to make a living.
“Around the world wildlife is going extinct – if we act NOW we can turn the tide and stop incredible species, like tigers, from disappearing forever,” says ZSL Director General Dominic Jermey CVO, OBE. Find out how you can get involved by visiting the ZSL website.