Nepal’s tiger population has crossed 235, indicating a dramatic increase from 121 in 2009. The number of rhinos increased from 435 in 2008 to 645 in 2015, with zero rhino poaching for the first time since 2011. Snow leopard conservation and research has advanced, with Nepal now holding the fifth largest population among 12 snow leopard range states.
There have been similar successes among other species, including blue sheep, Himalayan tahr, gaur and gharial. The species recovery of rhinos, blackbuck, wild water buffalo in their former ranges are other important milestones of our conservation journey.
After KAC, Nepal has added three more protected area systems: Gauri-Shankar Conservation Area, Api Nampa Conservation Area, Banke National Park – covering 4,632square km across two landscapes, Kailash and Chitwan-Annapurna.
These conservation initiatives have placed emphasis on ensuring equal benefits to communities promoting a harmonious existence between humans and wildlife. The community-based conservation initiatives have been critical in protecting species as well as ensuring a sustainable future for people living in and near wilderness areas.
While the sudden loss of so many professionals put a dent on Nepal’s environmental movement, their legacy has continued with a new generation of committed specialists who were trained and mentored by them. This new crop of young conservationists received scholarships established in the memory of the pioneers who died 15 years ago. They have gone on to do exemplary field work, and are now in key decision-making positions in Nepal to guide future conservation efforts.