Nepal’s Tiger Conservation Boosted by Financial Grant

Nepal’s commitment to double its numbers of tigers in the wild by 2022 – as agreed to in the Tigers Times Two (TX2) plan devised at the 2010 International Tiger Conservation Forum held in St Petersburg, Russia – has been given a major boost by a $3 million donation from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. As the Year of the Tiger, according to the traditional Chinese calendar, 2022 was set as a goal for participating countries to show a significant increase in the number of tigers in their protected areas.

The grant from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation will assist the work of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in strengthening anti-poaching measures, restoring wildlife corridors, and protecting vital breeding areas for tigers in Nepal’s Terai Arc terrain. Along with local authorities and communities, the WWF will also monitor fluctuations in tiger populations.

The Terai Arc Landscape consists of eleven protected ecosystems shared by Nepal and India, covering an area of around 12.3 million acres, with India’s Yamuna River to the west, and Nepal’s Bagmati River to the east. The area is home to a host of animals, many of which are considered to be endangered, including the Indian rhinoceros, the Asian elephant, the hispid hare, the sloth bear and the Bengal tiger. The waterways of the Terai Arc Landscape (TAL) provide habitats for a wide range of amphibians, fish and crustaceans.

This is not the first time Nepal has received assistance from the award-winning Hollywood star, who is an active advocate for preserving the environment and wildlife. Financial support for conservation measures in Nepal’s Bardia National Park have had a measure of success, with the tiger population increasing from 18 to 50 in recent years. In 2010 DiCaprio joined forces with WWF to launch a global campaign – Save Tigers Now – aimed at raising awareness and support from political, financial and public sectors. In a statement to the press, DiCaprio noted that the WWF, the government of Nepal and local communities are on the “frontlines of the battle” and expressed his hope that the grant will help them to exceed their goal of doubling the number of tigers in the wild.