London Zoo goes to Nepal to help save the Bengal tigers

Nepal Bengal Tiger in a ZSL Camera Trap

Nepal Bengal Tiger in a ZSL Camera Trap - Credit: Archant

This tiger cub peering into a ZSL camera trap is being helped by projects to preserve his future says the Zoo’s fundraising director

Working for wildlife brings so much enrichment to my life, but my connection to nature and wildlife isn't restricted to the animals at London Zoo.

At ZSL we have been working with the Nepali government and local communities to secure the future of the extraordinary Bengal tigers.

Fewer than 4,000 tigers are left in the wild across Asia, and together we've taken a significant step towards saving these endangered big cats. Nepal's wild tigers increased to 235 in 2018 from only 121 in 2008. But the future of these animals is a long way from secured.

At ZSL we believe saving wildlife starts with people - the people living alongside wild animals.

In the borderlands of Nepal and Kenya's national parks, people and wildlife live side-by-side. ZSL knows that life can be challenging for these communities and pressures are high, we want to change that. I believe that change can start small and bringing people and wildlife closer together is just the start.

As demand for land increases, lack of opportunity is forcing local people to enter the forest in search of food or firewood. But these fragile ecosystems are on the brink of collapse and the survival of our most iconic wildlife is under threat.

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We have teamed up with rural communities to find new ways for them to live alongside wildlife. With starter loans and training, they are establishing sustainable ways to make a living - dairies, B&Bs, beauty salons and tailor's studios - breaking that dependence on the forest. And with training in hospitality, jungle guiding and 4x4 driving, as well as putting up fencing and early-warning systems to stop animals raiding crops, we're helping them harness ecotourism in the national parks. With the health and happiness of their families safeguarded, these communities are no longer reliant on the forest for survival. Feeling the benefits of their national parks for the first time, they are becoming ambassadors of their own wildlife and protecting natural resources from the illegal wildlife trade.

Meanwhile, forests regrow, animals return, and wildlife has space to thrive. This month we launched a 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. With a track record of empowering communities in Asia and Africa, ZSL will alleviate the pressures of poverty which make communities in Kenya - home to endangered rhinos and elephants - vulnerable to exploitation by the international illegal wildlife trade. Just one donation can transform the future, for people and for wildlife. Until December 31 the UK government will match every pound donated, up to £2 million, meaning your generosity will go twice as far towards saving our iconic wildlife.

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