Compiled by WWF-Nepal’s Maya Yogi of the Khata Corridor project.
Catch up with Kalika and her cubs, and discover why this is a very special year for all wild tigers.
Kalika’s cubs are growing fast, but the latest camera trap images show she’s still having problems with her left front paw.
Life can be tough in the wild, and our precious tigress is still limping following a mysterious injury she sustained – most likely while defending her cubs. We’ll probably never know what happened, but the good news is that she otherwise seems healthy, and her youngsters appear to be thriving.
Kalika’s cubs are around 18 months old now, so they should have grown their permanent canine teeth and be able to catch prey, having learned how to hunt from their mother. At around two years old, they’ll leave Kalika to establish their own territories, perhaps here in Khata Corridor or in the two protected areas it connects – Bardia National Park in Nepal and Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary in India.
Having disappeared for almost 12 months, tigress Khairi Pothi was recently caught again on camera, and we think she may be pregnant. The images are quite blurry, but from what we can see, her stomach appears swollen, suggesting cubs are on the way. This extremely able mother has only just said goodbye to her previous brood, so she’s doing a great job of boosting tiger numbers in what is a really significant year for the big cats.
2022 is the Lunar Year of the Tiger and marks 12 years since all 13 tiger range countries committed to doubling their wild tiger numbers. This bold mission of WWFs, known as TX2, commenced when tiger numbers had dropped to an all-time low of around 3,200, and their historical range was reduced to about 5%. TX2 remains one of the most ambitious conservation goals ever for a single species, and we are making steady progress.
Thanks to effective conservation measures to tackle threats such as poaching, habitat loss and retaliatory attacks when tigers prey on livestock, tiger numbers are increasing here in Nepal as well as in Bhutan, China, India and Russia. In some parts of India, TX2 has already been achieved. For example, Pilibhit Tiger Reserve in the Terai Arc has managed to more than double its wild tiger population within a decade, to an estimated 65 individuals. There have been similar success stories in the transboundary area of Manas Tiger Reserve in India and Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan.
We’ve made significant progress, but there is still much to be done, particularly in some south-east Asian countries, where tiger numbers have been falling. Over the next few years, there are extremely promising plans to expand tiger ranges and reintroduce the big cats to some of their former territories in places such as Kazakhstan, where tigers have been extinct for over 70 years.
Lighting the Way
Imagine finding a wild tiger in your village or losing valuable livestock you rely on for your family’s food and income. These are everyday realities for people living in Khata Corridor, but they are also co-creating some very practical solutions.
Recently, WWF has worked with communities to install 99 village streetlights aimed at keeping tigers at bay. Plus, 22 households now have predator-proof enclosures where they can keep their livestock safe at night. And on top of these efficient, practical measures, WWF has supported efforts to train another 225 local people as rapid response team members, who harmlessly deter tigers and other wildlife from entering villages and ransacking crop fields.
These are just some of the strong community-run actions that are reducing the risks of night-time tiger encounters to help people and tigers coexist.