Global Tiger Day celebrations took centre stage in Nepal this week on July 29, with more than 500 participants, both young and old, from all walks, coming together in solidarity of the impact cat. Under the theme ‘Tiger Conservation for Prosperity’, a special event was organized at the NTNC Auditorium under the leadership of Government of Nepal’s (GoN), Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) in which the Hon. Minister for Forests and Environment (MOFE) and NTNC Chairman Mr. Shakti Bahadur Basnet was the chief guest. Other special guests included Dr. Krishna Prasad Oli, Member of National Planning Commission, Dr. Bishwa Nath Oli, Secretary, MOFE and Dr. Swoyambhu Man Amatya, former Secretary, GoN.
In a message of the country’s deep reverence for the top predator, the occasion commenced with stage performances by school students depicting the diverse peoples and cultures across Nepal, and their close affinity to nature and wilderness. An urgent calling for unity and action for the case of tigers was very clearly and creatively expressed. Following the performances, two presentation sessions aimed at raising tiger knowhow and awareness were conducted: one on, ‘Nepal’s Tiger Conservation Initiatives’ by Mr. Gopal Prasad Bhattarai from DNPWC, and another on, ‘Tiger Ecology’ by Dr. Chiranjibi Prasad Pokharel from NTNC.
Hon. Minister Mr. Shakti Bahadur Basnet emphasized the significance of the occasion in successfully bringing the common man’s attention toward making a difference for the cause of the ‘endangered’ cat, which as one of the top predators of the planet has a critical role in ensuring healthy forests and other life-support systems. To push for greater success of tiger populations, the Hon. Minister further reiterated “the need to study and establish stronger evidence about their economic value on environmental services, including a scientific assessment on the carrying capacity of each tiger-focused area.” Other speakers at the event included Dr. Bishwa Nath Oli, Dr. Krishna Prasad Oli, Mr. Man Bahadur Khadka, Director General, DNPWC, and Mr. Govinda Gajurel, Member Secretary, NTNC—all of whom expressed greater resolve and commitment in driving the country’s tiger conservation vision. Nepal already has a dedicated National Tiger Conservation Committee, which is chaired by the Right Hon’able Prime Minister.
Elsewhere, at NTNC-Central Zoo, celebrations took precedence with a rally organized by FOZ (Friends of Zoo) students, followed by a flurry of sessions throughout the day—presentations, documentaries, talk programmes, quizzes, tiger art, fun-related interactions, and face painting activities among others— all with the aim of informing Zoo visitors about the need to do more for tigers in the wild.
For the first time in many years, tiger numbers are increasing around the world. Once estimated to have made up a population of more than 100,000 at the beginning of the 20th century, by 2010 there were only about 3200 tigers. Today there are an estimated 3900 of them in the wild. Nepal is in a global mission to double tiger numbers by 2022: from 121 tigers in 2010 to 250 tigers. Results from the national tiger survey conducted earlier this year is being currently analyzed and is expected to be announced very shortly. The previous four-yearly survey in 2013 had established the country’s tiger population at 198, a positive indication of the big cat’s conservation success.
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