Tigers roar back: Nepal surpasses global commitment to double endangered tiger numbers

Nepal has surpassed its global Tx2 commitment to double wild tiger numbers, according to the results of the National Tiger and Prey Survey released on Global Tiger Day.

TORONTO, JULY 29, 2022 – Good news this Global Tiger Day: Nepal has more than doubled its wild tiger population from approximately 121 individuals in 2010 to 355 tigers in 2022, according to the results of its latest National Tiger and Prey Survey.

With this announcement, Nepal has gone beyond its national target and achieved one of the most ambitious global pledges in the history of conservation. Known as Tx2, the goal to double wild tiger numbers by 2022, the Lunar Year of the Tiger, was set by tiger range governments at the St. Petersburg Summit in 2010 after the world’s tiger population hit a new low — at the time, there were as few as 3,200, tigers, down from an estimated 100,000 a century ago.

Over the last 12 years, tiger numbers in Nepal have steadily climbed. Four-year periodic population assessments indicated a rise in Nepal’s tiger population to 198 in 2014 and 235 in 2018.

The latest national survey, led by Nepal’s Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation with implementing partner WWF-Nepal and other conservation organizations, was an extensive effort covering 18,920 sq. km and 16,811 days of field staff time. It identified individual adult tigers based on stripe patterns, excluding juveniles and cubs and used cutting edge analytical tools to arrive at robust population estimates.

These incredible results highlight the importance of protecting key tiger habitats and corridors and partnering with the local communities that live alongside tigers. With wildlife populations around the world in decline, they also show us that the successful recovery of a species is possible with the right conservation actions.

With the help of donors in Canada, WWF-Canada has supported tiger conservation in Nepal since 2013 through population monitoring, habitat improvement, the training of citizen scientists and supporting efforts to reduce human-wildlife conflict.

Rinjan Shrestha, lead specialist Asian big cats for WWF-Canada, says:

“WWF-Canada is privileged to have gone on this incredible conservation journey alongside our colleagues in Nepal, and with the support of donors here in Canada. The comeback of tigers in Nepal is an extraordinary achievement and exemplifies that even the most daring conservation goals can be reached when governments, conservation partners like WWF and, most importantly, the local communities come together.

“This historic success story brings a message of hope and reassurance about the long-term survival of tigers in Nepal. However, progress is still fragile. As the tiger population grows, it is more important than ever that we increase our efforts to expand the tigers’ shrinking range, connect their habitats and make landscapes safer for tigers and the people to co-exist.”

Ghana S. Gurung, Country Director, WWF-Nepal, says:

“Conservation delivery takes time. However, under the leadership of the Nepal government, together with conservation partners and support from our communities, we have been able to live up to the trust of donors and supporters globally.  Alongside maintaining the current achievements with renewed focus on co-existence of humans and tigers, we will continue to invest in tackling the emerging challenges. Therefore, we aim to prioritize our efforts in water security, wildlife-friendly infrastructure and managing the dispersal of tiger population, while further solidifying our community’s stewardship.”

Please find tiger photos available for media use here.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact [email protected] or Jenny Roberts, WWF-Tigers Alive at [email protected].


Why tigers matter
As the world’s largest cat and an apex predator, tigers play a significant role in the structure and function of the ecosystem on which both humans and wildlife rely. They are a “landscape” species, needing large areas with diverse habitats, free from human disturbance and rich in prey. Success or failure means more than securing the future of a single iconic species – it sets a precedent for how we will consider and prioritize the health of nature in global development and in a changing climate going forward. For more information see: tigers.panda.org.

About World Wildlife Fund Canada 
WWF-Canada is committed to equitable and effective conservation actions that restore nature, reverse wildlife loss and fight climate change. We draw on scientific analysis and Indigenous guidance to ensure all our efforts connect to a single goal: a future where wildlife, nature and people thrive. For more information visit wwf.ca.