Informing Nepal’s debate on tiger hunting licenses | Mongabay Impacts

A tiger in Cambodia in 2016. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.

In July 2023, Mongabay published an article explaining how Nepal’s environment minister had suggested selling tiger hunting licenses as a means of both controlling the predator’s population and raising money for conservation.

In this article, Mongabay staff writer Abhaya Raj Joshi unravels how conservationists, wildlife experts and local communities denounced the move as a “terrible idea,” saying it would endanger the tigers and their wider ecosystem, as well as violate Indigenous beliefs. 

Researchers warned hunting is ineffective and unnecessary as a means of reducing human-tiger conflict, and that the tiger population may have reached its natural limit in the country anyway.

“As Nepal celebrates its achievement in saving the tiger and nearly tripling its population, cases of human-tiger conflict are also on the rise. This has pressed policymakers to come up with new ideas to address the situation, said Abhaya Raj Joshi. “But at times they come up with ideas that are neither scientifically valid nor socially and culturally acceptable. It is the job of the independent media like Mongabay to inform the debate so that conservation achievements that took decades to build aren’t jeopardized by uninformed decisions.”


King George V’s hunting team with part of their day’s game in 1911, Nepal. A study suggests that killing tigers may have unintended consequences. Image via Wikimedia Commons (Public domain).

Media coverage of Nepal’s environment minister encouraging sport hunting of tigers set the agenda for World Tiger Day celebrations in Nepal, increasing awareness of tiger conservation within the country among the general public and environmental NGOs.

Previous to Mongabay’s publication, the minister’s comments on allowing trophy hunting had remained under the radar. However, different national and international media outlets, including Onlinekhabar and Yahoo republished the article, bringing greater attention to the minister’s statements. Follow up reports were published in different national news outlets such as the Nepali Times and Republica.

The Nepali World Wildlife Fund Chief shared with Mongabay that he received several calls about tiger conservation in response to the article, signifying increased attention to the issue, and increased action based on the concerns described in Mongabay’s publication.

Inspiring reporting on tiger conservation

This article is one of several in Mongabay’s ongoing coverage of tiger conservation and the critical issues facing the species, the bulk of which stems from locations across South Asia, notably Nepal. Independent journalism is necessary to raise awareness among several audiences and increase accountability among individuals with decision-making power.

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