The Government of Nepal announced today an expansion of Bardia National Park in the Terai Arc Landscape by 900 sq km, which will increase critical habitat for tigers.
WWF welcomes the announcement, which was made at the inaugural session of the Kathmandu Global Tiger Workshop.
Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal also stated that the government would establish a National Tiger Conservation Authority as well as a Wildlife Crime Control Committee saying, "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."
"This is indeed a great conservation initiative, which will certainly help in curbing illegal wildlife trade and poaching in Nepal," said Anil Manandhar, Country Representative of WWF Nepal. "We are confident that by embracing innovative conservation strategies Nepal will succeed in doubling its number of endangered tigers."
Earlier this year the first ever nation-wide estimate of the tiger population revealed the presence of 121 breeding tigers in the wild within four protected areas of Nepal. In order to ensure that 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.
"In making these commitments at a global forum before the 12 other tiger range countries, the Government of Nepal has set an important precedent for others to follow," said Mike Baltzer, Leader of WWF's Tiger Initiative. "The next three days of the workshop are vital as countries and tiger experts band together to create a game-changing plan to save tigers in the wild."
The Kathmandu Global Tiger Workshop is the first in a series of political negotiation meetings occurring throughout the year and leading up to a final Heads of State Tiger Summit in September 2010, which is the Year of the Tiger.
Source: World Wildlife Fund