By Rachael Bletchly
The Mirror joined the guardians of Nepal's big cats trying to protect them from poachers desperate to cash in on the £12billion illegal wildlife trade.
Picking my way through jungle in the foothills of the Himalayas, on patrol with a group of villagers armed with wooden sticks, there is suddenly a flurry of activity.
We huddle around a man peering suspiciously at a pile of leaves.
Bhadai Tharu takes his staff and prods the ground... and a sickening crack rings out as a deadly poaching trap springs up and snaps shut.
He disarms the evil contraption and hands it to me.
A shiver runs down my spine because I know this trap has been used countless times to kill the world’s most magnificent animals, the critically endangered royal Bengal tigers.
A century ago more than 100,000 wild tigers roamed the globe – now there are just 3,200.
Three sub-species have died out and experts fear the five others could be gone within years.
Every week an average of two tigers are killed by poachers desperate to cash in on the £12billion illegal wildlife trade, where a kilo of tiger bone fetches around £1,700 and an adult skin more than £5,000. More....