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The announcement of a 900km2 expansion of tiger habitat in Nepal's Bardia National Park was made at the inaugural session of the Kathmandu Global Tiger Workshop.

Prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal also said the government would establish a National Tiger Conservation Authority as well as a Wildlife Crime Control Committee.

The prime minister said: The solutions will be area specific, but the future of conservation will depend upon how we act now and how we make tiger conservation and overall biodiversity much more valuable to the livelihoods of local communities."

Head of WWF's species programme, Diane Walkington, welcomed the announcement, saying: "In making these commitments at a global forum, the government of Nepal has set an important precedent that others must follow."

Earlier this year, the first ever nationwide estimate of the tiger population in Nepal indicated just 121 breeding tigers in the wild within four protected areas.

In order to ensure these tiger numbers remain stable and start to increase, WWF and its partners called on the government to increase anti-poaching activities and habitat protection.

The Kathmandu Global Tiger Workshop co-organised and co-sponsored by the CITES Secretariat, Global Tiger Forum, Global Tiger Initiative, Save The Tiger Fund and the World Bank, is the first in a series of crucial political meetings in the lead up to a final Heads of State Tiger Summit in September 2010, which will be during the Chinese Year of the Tiger.

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