Only 121 Breeding Tigers Left in Nepal, First Nationwide Assessment Finds

bengal tiger photo

photo: Paul Mannix via flickr

It's well known that global tiger populations are in serious decline, with habitat loss and poaching driving the big cats quickly towards extinction. In fact, recently in India another reserve was found to actually have no tigers in it. Now, Nepal has completed its first nationwide assessment of tigers and the results are decidedly mixed. Here's the story, via Science Daily: According to the survey, the population of breeding tigers in the Terai Arc Landscape (that's the lowland region of Nepal bordering India, plus some neighboring territory within India itself) is thought to be 121 individuals.

The good news in that is that tiger numbers have actually increased in Chitwan national park, Anil Manandhar of WWF Nepal says. The bad news is that in Bardia national park and Shuklaphanta wildlife reserve tiger populations have gone down.

Manandhar summed it up:

In spite of the decade long insurgency, encroachment, poaching, and illegal trade, the present numbers are a positive sign, but we can't remain unworried. The declining number in Western Nepal has posed more challenges, needing a concerted effort to save this charismatic endangered species, focusing on anti-poaching and illegal wildlife trade.

Poaching Greatest Tiger Threat
According to WWF, tigers occupy 40% less habitat today than they did just 10 years ago. The primary reason for this decline is poaching for their skin and bones, and for use in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Past that, habitat loss and fragmentation is the next greatest threat currently.

More: Science Daily
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