• Nepalese tiger
    Nepalese tiger

Wild tigers in Nepal have clawed their way back from the brink of extinction. There are now almost three times as many wild tigers in the country as there were in 2009, according to the Nepalese government.

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba announced the conservation success last week, according to a news release from the World Wildlife Fund. Nepal's National Tiger and Prey Survey 2022 found there are now 355 wild tigers in the country, a 190% increase since 2009.

The exhaustive survey covered 18,928 sq km - more than 12% of the country - and required 16,811 days of field staff time.

Ginette Henley, senior vice president for wildlife conservation at the World Wildlife Fund-US, told CNN the announcement represents a major win for conservationists and tigers alike.

"Tigers in Nepal and everywhere else that they live in Asia, about 10 countries, were on a steady decline because of two key reasons," said Henley. "The most immediate reason was poaching for the illegal animal trade. The second reason was loss of habitat."

"In 2010, it was clear we were going to lose tigers unless we made a concerted effort to turn things around." Governments of countries home to tigers then set a goal to double the number of wild tigers by 2022 at the St. Petersburg International summit on tiger conservation. Nepal is the first country to release updated tiger numbers in 2022.

Henley said Nepal "really does stand out as a leader in conservation, especially for tigers."

"There is support for conservation of tigers at the highest level of government," she said. "That has translated into really effective habitat conservation, bolstering the protection of tigers in national parks, the wildlife reserves."

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