Tiny Nepal, is excited to be on track to double its population of wild tigers by the end of this year. Nepal joins India at the top of the list of countries reporting significant increases in tiger numbers.
The goal of the project is to double the world’s wild tiger population by the end of this year. India, Nepal, Bhutan and Russia have all shown population increases, but the number of wild tigers has not fully doubled. A common estimate is that there were 100,000 wild tigers in the world in 1900. The number fell to about 3.200 in 2010, the year TX2 launched. A current total of 4,000 tigers world wide would be a high-end estimate.
In Nepal, Tigers face the same basic problems as they do elsewhere: poaching, the wildlife trade, prey and habitat loss and fragmented populations. The governments of the 13 countries in which tigers may live have all pledged to reduce poaching and animal trading. Wildlife corridors are an increasingly important feature of conservation as they allow tigers to move between otherwise isolated populations. In India, the government will relocate villages to reduce conflict with tigers and create corridors. In the United States, the world’s biggest animal freeway overcrossing is slated to break ground soon. Liberty Canyon is primarily aimed at restoring cougar populations in Los Angeles County. But Los Angeles cougars and Indian tigers are both showing signs of inbreeding. Animal corridors and overpasses help to diversify the gene pools of large predators.
Counting wild animal is always difficult. The Nepalese number were arrived at by methods including camera traps, analysis of prey density, and locating tiger scats(droppings) and other signs of tiger presence.
The latest estimates indicate Nepal is home to 235 tigers, almost double the number counted 10 years ago. The possibility of tigers being present in unexpected parts of the country is being investigated as well. The Nepal Tiger Project is trying to document a small population of tigers in an area of Nepal outside of the nation’s park system. A recent estimate of international tiger numbers can be found here.