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30 Jul, 2019

With a current population size of 235 breeding tigers, Nepal is all set to become the first of 13 range countries to double its tiger population commitment by 2022. The success story of Nepal's tiger population is the result of wide community engagement and commitment at all levels, together with continued innovation and investment. However, achieving a balance between conservation and development still pose multiple challenges, mainly due to increasing human-wildlife conflict stresses along with pressures on forest-based resources for development.

To take stock of the country's incredible success in tiger conservation, while also ensuring future progress, this year's national-level Global Tiger Day celebration was marked in Banke National Park in Western Nepal. The programme was organized by the Government of Nepal, Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) and Department of Forests and Soil Conservation (DFSC), in collaboration with the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC), World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) Nepal and Zoological Society of London (ZSL) Nepal. Other key attendees included those from protected areas of Western Nepal, Municipalities and Rural Municipalities of Banke, Bardia and Kanchanpur districts, Nepal Army, buffer zone institutions and local conservation partners.

Prior to the main event, three site-level interactions were organized to acknowledge local voices in tiger conservation. This year’s Global Tiger Day was observed under the theme – “Tiger Conservation for Ecotourism Promotion" (kof{ko{6g k|jw{gsf nflu af3 ;+/If0f), focusing on the invaluable role that tigers play in not just benefitting ecosystems and forests, but their incredible role in promoting local economies by acting as primary tourism attractions.

Addressing the event Mr. Ram Chandra Kandel, Deputy Director General of DNPWC delivered his presentation covering the important aspects of tiger conservation in Nepal, further calling on local governments and local communities to take the lead in tiger conservation by driving a balance between conservation and development. Another presentation by Dr. Rajendra K.C, Deputy Director General of DFSC was made focusing on landscape approach to conservation in Nepal, in which he highlighted key issues to deal at the landscape level to sustain growing tiger population. Mr. Man Bahadur Khadka, Director General of DNPWC drew light about the government's close attention to reduce human-wildlife conflicts and also reframe policies so as to acquire conservation benefits. A study to set the measurable conservation targets that help in sustaining growing tiger population is already underway.

In his address, chief guest and member of the National Planning Commission, Hon'ble Dr. Krishna Prasad Oli reminded the event about the country's need for adequate conservation and management systems to restore the carrying capacity of tiger-bearing landscapes, including the Churiya range. Sharing about the government's proactive stance to form necessary legal and functional mechanisms that enable generating benefits from conservation and help in achieving the sustainable development goals, he also emphasized on the urgent need for ensuring wildlife-friendly infrastructure.

Two new publications—Mammals of Banke National Park and Buffer Zone, and Mammals of Bardia National Park and Buffer Zone—were also formally launched at the event. The two books were published by NTNC together with Banke National Park and Bardia National Park. An infographic poster on the growing tiger population status in Nepal was also shared and made public.