Tigers may seem like an elusive remnant of our jungly past, but whether they continue to exist in the wild depends on a very current nexus of politics, economics and society.
Nepal and 12 other tiger range countries have declared that they will double the estimated 3200 tigers in the wild in the next 12 years. For Nepal, this means doubling our adult wild tiger population of 121.
"We understand tiger conservation is not like breeding chickens," Forest Minister Deepak Bohara conceded in the course of being grilled by BBC Nepali on Monday. "That is exactly why we are extending tiger habitat in Banke National Park and taking a strong stance against forest encroachment, poaching and smuggling in tiger parts."
But in the face of continued poaching and encroachment, this is easier said than done.
2010 is the Year of the Tiger. With crucial tiger summits this year in Vladivostok and Doha that will define the stance of China and India, let's hope it turns out to be one that will pave the way for a Year of the Tiger 2022 we can truly celebrate.