Jul 30 2013, 12:48am CDT | by IANS
The government Monday came out with its latest tiger census, putting their number across the country at 198. This is a rise of 63 percent compared to 2009 when the last count was taken.
"Nepal's results are an important milestone to reaching the goal of doubling the number of wild tigers by 2022," said Megh Bahadur Pandey, the head of the department of national parks and wildlife conservation.
"Tigers are a part of Nepal's natural wealth, and we are committed to ensuring these magnificent wild cats have their prey, protection and space to thrive."
Tigers are found in the Terai arc stretching some 960 km across 15 protected area networks in Nepal and India.
Nepal and India embarked on the first ever joint tiger survey using a common methodology in January.
It was agreed by the two governments that each country could release its national estimates and a joint report will be released later.
Nepal's analysis covered five protected areas and three corridors.
The BNP is one of the best wild reserves for the endangered big cats.
The results have shown a comeback of tigers in the recently declared Banke National Park -- with the presence of four tigers.
"While we celebrate the positive results from this tiger survey, WWF calls on the government of Nepal to redouble efforts to protect these conservation gains that could easily be lost as human-tiger conflict increases and illegal wildlife trade empties our forests," stated Anil Manandhar, country representative of WWF Nepal.
"Tigers are an iconic symbol of wild nature, and WWF will continue to work closely with the government, conservation partners and local communities in Nepal," he added.
Many wildlife experts have often raised concerns over methodologies used during previous tiger counts.
The constant rise in tiger population after every census in resent years, they claimed, was not justifiable as the counts were carried out at different intervals instead of being done concurrently in all habitats.
Officials claimed that this time scientific tools were used to bring accuracy in the census.
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