Nepal says its tiger population has almost doubled from 2009

FILE- In this Nov. 23, 2010 file photo, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, right, the then Prime Minister of Nepal Madhav Kumar, center, and, Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina attend the International Tiger Forum in St.Petersburg, Russia. The number of tigers roaming the jungles of Nepal has nearly doubled because of initiatives from the government, conservationists and local authorities who have worked for years to increase the tiger population in the Himalayan nation, an official said Sunday. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, File)

KATHMANDU, Nepal — The number of tigers roaming the jungles of Nepal has nearly doubled because of initiatives from the government, conservationists and local authorities who have worked for years to increase the tiger population in the Himalayan nation, an official said Sunday.

Gopal Prakash Bhattarai of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation said that the latest tiger count showed there were 235 tigers in the jungles — almost twice as many as the 121 that were found in 2009.

"Even the nation's prime minister is involved and he heads the National Tiger Conservation Committee," Bhattarai said, adding that there has been better security in the conservation areas and awareness among the people living near these locations.

Leaders of nations with tiger populations had met in 2010 and pledged to double the number by 2022.

Bhattarai said Sunday that Nepal is already heading in that direction and could be among the first nations to meet the goal.

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