By Douglas Main, OurAmazingPlanet Staff Writer:

Camera traps in Nepal's Bardia National Park identified 37 tigers living in and near the park in 2011, a marked increase from two years before when only 18 were recorded there, according to the conservation group World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Shubash Lohani, a researcher with the group originally from Nepal, credits the increase to a commitment by the Nepalese government to protect the endangered big cats and crack down on illegal poaching, as well as better training and resources given to park rangers, cooperation by local communities and improvements in grassland habitat.

The growth of the Bengal, or Indian, tiger populations in this region shows that the animals can rebound quickly if given the opportunity, Lohani told OurAmazingPlanet.

"This is a result of the government's commitment to doubling Nepal's tiger numbers [by 2022] and is proof positive that this goal is achievable if grassroots efforts by local communities and rangers on the frontlines of tiger conservation are complemented by high-level political support," he said.

Threats to tigers remain

The group has worked with the Nepalese government and local communities to double the number of guard posts in the park since 2008. Rangers have cracked down on poaching, arresting more 300 poachers and traders in the country in 2011 alone.

However, illegal hunting of the endangered cats throughout their range remains an enormous threat to their survival and is fueled by growing demand for their parts, which are traditionally thought to have medicinal value (despite strong evidence to the contrary), Lohani said.

Camera traps used in the study, published in an announcement by the government of Nepal, also found tigers moving through the Khata wildlife corridor to reach India's Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary.

These wildlife corridors are vital for allowing the animals to move throughout their range, and in the future, the WWF plans to better protect and improve the habitats of these pathways in Nepal and elsewhere, Lohani said.

Tigers identified

Researchers have improved grassland habitats by removing trees and conducting controlled burns over the past few years, which has allowed ungulates and other deer species — a primary food source for tigers — to thrive.

Tigers can have many offspring if they are healthy; photographs by tourists suggest that one Nepalese female has given birth to eight cubs in the past few years, Lohani said.

Camera traps took about 300 photographs of tigers in the park in 2011, from which 37 individuals were identified by their unique pattern of stripes, Lohani said.

In 2011, locals voluntarily gave up 135 guns to the park authorities as a result of grassroots anti-poaching activities supported by WWF Nepal. The group also works with 12 community-based anti-poaching units to help stop wildlife crime.

But there is still much work to be done if tigers are to be saved. "Although this is an encouraging result, we need more cooperation from other countries where tigers live to protect the animals, and to crack down on poaching and illegal trade in wildlife," he said.

Reach Douglas Main at dmain@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @Douglas_Main. Follow OurAmazingPlanet on Twitter @OAPlanet. We're also on Facebook and Google+.

Copyright 2012 OurAmazingPlanet, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • <em>From Getty:</em> SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 25: A Sumantran tiger cub seen on display at Taronga Zoo on October 25, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • <em>From Getty:</em> A female Bengal tiger in her cage at the zoo of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on April 29, 2011. AFP PHOTO/VANDERLEI ALMEIDA

  • <em>From Getty:</em> SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 25: Sumatran tiger Jumilah is seen with her cubs on display at Taronga Zoo on October 25, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • <em>From Getty:</em> SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 25: A Sumatran tiger cub is seen on display at Taronga Zoo on October 25, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • <em>From Getty:</em> SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 25: Sumatran tiger Jumilah is seen with one of her cubs on display at Taronga Zoo on October 25, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • <em>From Getty:</em> A white tiger (Panthera tigris) is seen at the zoo in Cali, Colombia, on April 21, 2012. Colombia has the second largest biodiversity in the world. AFP PHOTO/Luis ROBAYO

  • <em>From Getty:</em> Newborn Siberian tigers Virgil, Thrax and Manu are presented at the Budapest Zoo and Botanic Garden in the Hungarian capital on July 4, 2011. The eight-week-old tigers were presented to the press for the first time with their health checkup and ID chips implanted by the chief doctor of the zoo. AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KISBENEDEK

  • <em>From Getty:</em> Tigers play in water at a tiger buddhist temple in Karnchanaburi province, western Thailand on April 24, 2012. Thailand is one of just 13 countries hosting fragile tiger populations and is a hub of international smuggling. Worldwide, numbers are estimated to have fallen to only 3,200 tigers from approximately 100,000 a century ago. AFP PHOTO/PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL

  • <em>From Getty:</em> Tigers play in water at a tiger buddhist temple in Karnchanaburi province, western Thailand on April 24, 2012. Thailand is one of just 13 countries hosting fragile tiger populations and is a hub of international smuggling. Worldwide, numbers are estimated to have fallen to only 3,200 tigers from approximately 100,000 a century ago. AFP PHOTO/PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL

  • <em>From Getty:</em> Two white tigers cub are pictured on December 5, 2011 at the zoological park of Cerza in Hermival-les-Vaux, northern France. The three-year-old Lisa gave birth on October 8, 2011 to two white tigers belonging to a relatively rare species. AFP PHOTO KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

  • <em>From Getty:</em> A white tiger cub is pictured on December 5, 2011 at the zoological park of Cerza in Hermival-les-Vaux, northern France. The three-year-old Lisa gave birth on October 8, 2011 to two white tigers belonging to a relatively rare species. AFP PHOTO KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

  • <em>From Getty:</em> SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 25: Sumatran tiger Jumilah is seen with one of her cubs on display at Taronga Zoo on October 25, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • <em>From Getty:</em> A white tiger is pictured in its compound on June 30, 2011, at the Amneville's zoo, eastern France. AFP PHOTO / JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN

  • <em>From Getty:</em> Tigers play in water at a tiger buddhist temple in Karnchanaburi province, western Thailand on April 24, 2012. Thailand is one of just 13 countries hosting fragile tiger populations and is a hub of international smuggling. Worldwide, numbers are estimated to have fallen to only 3,200 tigers from approximately 100,000 a century ago. AFP PHOTO/PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL

  • <em>From Getty:</em> A tiger (Panthera tigris) is seen in a lake in the zoo of Cali, Colombia, on April 21, 2012. Colombia has the second largest biodiversity in the world. AFP PHOTO/Luis ROBAYO

  • <em>From Getty:</em> A white tiger plays with a plant at the zoo on December 21, 2011 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. AFP PHOTO / Yasuyoshi Chiba

  • <em>From Getty:</em> A Siberian tiger sniffs a paper-made snowman given by the staff as a Christmas present on December 21, 2011 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. AFP PHOTO / Yasuyoshi Chiba

  • <em>From Getty:</em> SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 21: A Sumatran Tiger cub investigates a wrapped Christmas present at Taronga Zoo on December 21, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

  • <em>From Getty:</em> SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 21: A Sumatran Tiger tears apart a wrapped Christmas present at Taronga Zoo on December 21, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

  • <em>From Getty:</em> SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 21: Sumatran Tiger cubs tear apart a wrapped Christmas present at Taronga Zoo on December 21, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

  • <em>From Getty:</em> SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 21: A Sumatran Tiger tears apart a wrapped Christmas present at Taronga Zoo on December 21, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

  • <em>From Getty:</em> Two white tigers cub are pictured on December 5, 2011 at the zoological park of Cerza in Hermival-les-Vaux, northern France. The three-year-old Lisa gave birth on October 8, 2011 to two white tigers belonging to a relatively rare species. AFP PHOTO KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

  • <em>From Getty:</em> A white tiger, Lisa, is pictured on December 5, 2011 in the zoological park of Cerza in Hermival-les-Vaux, northern France. The three-year-old Lisa gave birth on October 8, 2011 to two white tigers belonging to a relatively rare species. AFP PHOTO KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

  • <em>From Getty:</em> A white tiger, Lisa, runs on December 5, 2011 in the zoological park of Cerza in Hermival-les-Vaux, northern France. The three-year-old Lisa gave birth on October 8, 2011 to two white tigers belonging to a relatively rare species. AFP PHOTO KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

  • <em>From Getty:</em> A white tiger, Lisa, drinks water on December 5, 2011 in the zoological park of Cerza in Hermival-les-Vaux, northern France. The three-year-old Lisa gave birth on October 8, 2011 to two white tigers belonging to a relatively rare species. AFP PHOTO KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

  • <em>From Getty:</em> SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 25: Sumatran tiger Jumilah plays with one of her cubs on display at Taronga Zoo on October 25, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • <em>From Getty:</em> SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 25: Sumatran tiger Jumilah is seen on display at Taronga Zoo on October 25, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • <em>From Getty:</em> SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 25: Sumatran tiger Jumilah is seen with one of her cubs on display at Taronga Zoo on October 25, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • <em>From Getty:</em> SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 25: A Sumatran tiger cub looks through the glass of the tiger display at Taronga Zoo on October 25, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • <em>From Getty:</em> SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 25: Sumatran tiger Jumilah is seen with one of her cubs on display at Taronga Zoo on October 25, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • <em>From Getty:</em> Two months old Sumatran tiger cubs play in their exclosure on September 2, 2011 in Prague Zoo in the capital city. AFP PHOTO/ MICHAL CIZEK

  • <em>From Getty:</em> A Malayan tiger, a subspecies of tiger found in the southern and central parts of the Malay Peninsula, rests in his enclosure at the Zoo of Prague on July 24, 2011. AFP PHOTO / MICHAL CIZEK

  • <em>From Getty:</em> A white tiger is pictured in its compound on June 30, 2011, at the Amneville's zoo, eastern France. AFP PHOTO / JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN

  • <em>From Getty:</em> A female Bengal tiger in her cage at the zoo of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on April 29, 2011. AFP PHOTO/VANDERLEI ALMEIDA

  • Also On The Huffington Post...

    A Berlin zoo welcomes four adorable tiger cubs.