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18 August 2022

Press Release

For immediate release

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Tigers roar back: Nepal meets goal to double wild tiger numbers

  • Nepal has more than doubled the number of wild tigers to 355 individuals according to the results of a national survey released on July 29 – Global Tiger Day. 
  • Individual adult tigers are identified by their unique stripe patterns. 
  • The historic 190 per cent increase since 2009 is a result of the protection of key tiger habitats and corridors, partnership with local communities and cracking down on illegal wildlife trade. 
  • Tiger range countries are meeting next month to begin discussions on the next 12-year commitments for tiger conservation under the Global Tiger Recovery Program. 

WWF has praised an “inspirational” conservation success as Nepal increases its wild tiger population by 190 per cent since 2009. These results were announced by Nepal’s Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and follow the country’s National Tiger and Prey Survey 2022. The survey, in which WWF-Nepal played a key part, highlights the importance of maintaining and rigorously protecting core habitats, partnering with communities to ensure long-term conservation success, and expanding conservation to include corridors and habitats beyond existing Protected Areas. 

An extensive effort covering 18,928 sq. km - over 12 per cent of the country - and 16,811 days of field staff time was invested to complete the survey, which identified individual adult tigers based on stripe patterns. The results bring hope and reassurance about the tigers’ long-term future in Nepal. 

The target to double wild tigers, also known as Tx2, was set by governments in 2010 at the St. Petersburg International summit on tiger conservation. With this announcement, Nepal is the first country to release updated tiger numbers during the Year of the Tiger. Tiger range countries are meeting next month to begin discussions on the next 12-year commitments for tiger conservation under the Global Tiger Recovery Program. 

WWF-Nepal was an implementing partner in the survey which was led by the Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation with support also from other conservation organisations (National Trust for Nature Conservation and ZSL Nepal). WWF-Nepal was involved from survey design to data analysis via both technical and financial support to the Nepalese Government. 

While securing the future of Nepal’s tigers across vast landscapes has always been a challenge in the face of various threats, the latest estimate indicates the effectiveness of the conservation measures from the Nepalese Government, WWF and other organisations working in the sector. 

Becci May, Senior Programme Advisor, Asia Programmes, WWF-UK, said: “Nepal’s achievement of more than doubling the number of tigers in the wild is down to long-standing political will and the support of local communities. The commitment of the people of Nepal to reducing poaching and protecting tigers is inspirational and can serve as a model for conservation elsewhere.  

“Sadly, despite success stories like Nepal, tigers are still the most threatened big cat species globally, reduced to just 5% of their historic range. Yet when we protect tiger habitat, we protect so much more - tigers play a key role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem, and the vast areas of forest they require are a vital carbon store. Halting and reversing nature loss is the key to allowing both people and wildlife to thrive.” 


For further information, additional content or to arrange an interview please contact:   

Erin Rodgers | Media Manager at WWF   

T: +44 (0) 1483 412659 | E:   


Out of hours contact:   

T: +44 (0) 7500 577620 | E:  



Why tigers matter: 

As the world’s largest cat and an apex predator, tigers play a significant role in the structure and function of the ecosystem on which both humans and wildlife rely. They are a “landscape” species, needing large areas with diverse habitats, free from human disturbance and rich in prey. Success or failure means more than securing the future of a single iconic species – it sets a precedent for how we will consider and prioritise the health of nature in global development and in a changing climate going forward. For more information see: 

Adopting a tiger through WWF helps support the following work:     

  • Help to secure well-managed protected areas   
  • Advocate for and support the maintenance and restoration of wildlife corridors, helping wild tiger populations to thrive   
  • Collaborate with local communities to help them to protect wildlife and their livelihoods, as they live alongside wildlife    
  • Conduct camera trap surveys to be able to track population trends and guide conservation action 

More about Nepal’s tiger surveys: 

From an estimated 121 individuals in 2009, the numbers from the latest survey have bounced well beyond Nepal’s national Tx2 target of 250 wild tigers. Four-year periodic population assessments indicated a rise in Nepal’s wild tiger population to 198 in 2014, and 235 in 2018. The latest national tiger survey which was completed in April 2022 found a total of 355 individual adult tigers identified based on stripe patterns; excluding juveniles and cubs.  

More about how Nepal has achieved this success:  

People-centred tiger conservation: 

  • Effective partnerships with communities are key as increasing tiger numbers can bring challenges for local people. 
  • Compensation schemes have been launched to replace livestock killed by tigers. 
  • Support is provided to reduce reliance on resources such as firewood being collected from tiger forests. 
  • Tourism has provided new economic opportunities for local communities, through homestays and resorts, so they don’t have to resort to poaching and illegal logging. 

Effective action to tackle poaching: 

  • Poaching was once the greatest threat to tigers in Nepal. 
  • Now there is improved patrolling and coordination with law enforcement. This includes protected areas patrolling units and also community-based anti-poaching units. 
  • The improved patrolling has had the added benefit of helping rhinos, an example of how improved protection of the forest can help more than one species. 

Habitat protection, restoration and wildlife connectivity: 

  • The successful restoration of the Khata Forest Conservation Area, a wildlife corridor between Nepal and India, is a great example of cross-boundary cooperation helping to increase the ability of wildlife to move around. 
  • Tigers need vast areas of forest to survive but they also need to be well-managed. All of Nepal’s tiger sites are now registered under the Conservation Assured Tiger Standards (CA|TS) scheme that ensures conservation areas meet a set of standards and criteria. 

About WWF:   

WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) is one of the world’s largest independent conservation organisations, active in nearly 100 countries. Our supporters – more than five million of them – are helping us to restore nature and to tackle the main causes of nature’s decline, particularly the food system and climate change. We’re fighting to ensure a world with thriving habitats and species and to change hearts and minds so it becomes unacceptable to overuse our planet’s resources.  

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For wildlife, for people, for nature. 

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