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This week international conservation charity ZSL has announced a push to double Nepal’s tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) population, thanks to UK Aid Match funding.

With fewer than 4,000 tigers left in the wild across Asia, a significant step towards saving these endangered big cats is underway. Nepal’s wild tigers increased to 235 in 2018 from only 121 in 2008 thanks to dedicated conservation by local people, the Nepali government and ZSL. But the future of these extraordinary animals is a long way from secure.

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ZSL’s Dr Hem Baral, Nepal Country Manager, said:

“In Nepal, we are very proud of our wildlife, but when peoples’ livelihoods are threatened, some are pushed into wildlife crime to support their families, such as going into national parks to hunt. ZSL has been working in Nepal for nearly 25 years, supporting communities and changing attitudes towards wildlife conservation. With starter loans and training, people can build legal, safer and more sustainable livings such as dairies, hotels, beauty salons and tailor’s studios. This breaks their dependence on the forest.”

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In the borderlands of Nepal’s national parks, persisting poverty still pushes people to enter the forests, risking their lives and the integrity of the tigers’ habitat. With human populations growing, competition for space and resources increases, and the survival of local wildlife hangs in the balance. Without further support for communities, trees continue to be cut down; rivers overfished; and deer, that sustain large predators, hunted unsustainably.

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ZSL, working alongside Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, is changing this.

Launching its UK Aid Match appeal – For People. For Wildlife. – ZSL will expand programmes in Nepal helping communities to plan and create environmentally sustainable ways to make a living and build the same opportunities for people in Kenya too. Drawing on a track record of empowering communities across Asia and Africa, ZSL will alleviate the pressures of poverty which make communities in Kenya – home to rhinos and elephants – vulnerable to exploitation by the international illegal wildlife trade.

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ZSL Director General Dominic Jermey CVO, OBE said:

“Around the world, wildlife is going extinct – if we act now we can turn the tide and stop incredible species, like tigers, from disappearing forever. Just one donation can transform the future, for people and for wildlife. Your pound has never been more valuable.”

Give to ZSL by 31 December 2019 and the UK government will double all donations, up to £2million. Find out more at ZSL.org/ForPeopleForWildlife