Wildlife lovers, national leaders and foreign diplomats came together to celebrate Global Tiger Day 2021 at NTNC. The Rt. Hon'ble Prime Minister of Nepal Sher Bahadur Deuba was chief guest of the programme aimed at revisiting the important role of tigers in shaping biodiversity and wild spaces as apex predators and recommitting leadership for tiger conservation and protection across generations. The Rt. Hon'ble Prime Minister is also the patron of NTNC, and chair of the National Tiger Conservation Committee, the main organizer of the event.
Accompanying the celebrations other leaders included the former Prime Minister of Nepal Mr. Madhav Kumar Nepal, the Hon'ble Home Minister Mr. Bal Krishna Khand, the Hon'ble Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Mr. Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, and the former Minister for Forests and Soil Conservation (presently Ministry of Forests and Environment) Mr. Deepak Bohara. The former prime minister and MOFE minister shared learnings and insights about tiger conservation initiatives in Nepal during their tenure, recalling Nepal's tiger journey to St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2010, where all 13 tiger-range countries of the world had made a historic commitment to double tiger population (TX2) by 2022.
Foreign dignitaries in attendance included the Ambassador of India to Nepal, His Excellency Vinaya Mohan Kwarta, and Acting Ambassador and Chargé d'Affaires of the Russian Federation to Nepal, His Excellency Victor V. Evseev. Both ambassadors shared experiences and efforts being taken in tiger conservation in their respective countries and the many advances made through the power of collective collaboration, commitment, and strong leadership.
Other highlights at the event included a presentation by the MOFE Secretary Dr. Pem Narayan Kandel, laying out the science and scenario in Nepal's tiger conservation on-the-ground over the past decade, reflecting on gains made in tiger population, habitat extension, connectivity, community mobilization, threat reduction, and tiger research, along with persistent challenges from human-tiger conflict, unplanned linear infrastructure, poaching and diseases-related threats. A tiger drama and poetry performance by young students from NTNC's Friends of Zoo network urging for stronger leadership and ambition for nature was a standout among the audience. Other speakers at the event were the Director General of the Department for National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Dr. Deepak Kumar Kharal, and the NTNC Member Secretary Mr. Sharad Chandra Adhikary.
Nepal is already on the road to double its tiger numbers. With 235 tigers according to the national tiger census in 2018, from 121 in 2009-10, Nepal's target is to reach 250 tigers by the year 2022. Another tiger census is due to be conducted later this year to officially mark this feat. However the positive tiger recovery trajectory is by no means suggestive of being at ease.
Expressing his pleasure over the success of tiger conservation efforts in Nepal as a demonstration of local-to-global collaboration and partnership, the Rt. Hon'be Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba said that he was also aware of some of the more immediate challenges at home, where solutions for addressing the conditions causing increased human-tiger conflicts in recent years, ensuring tiger habitats are intact and undisturbed, together with the need for putting in place wildlife-friendly infrastructure was much necessary.
The celebrations concluded with a token of appreciation handed over to the Rt. Hon'ble Prime Minister by the NTNC Chairperson Dr. Krishna Prasad Oli.