International Tiger Day

Posted by The Open Page | 31/7/2019

 It is said that Where tigers thrive, it is a sign that the ecosystem is healthy.  International Tiger Day is celebrated on 29 July annually to promote the protection of natural habitat of tigers and to increase awareness about the conservation of tiger. International Tiger Day is also known as Global Tiger Day. Let us read more about International Tiger Day and how it is celebrated.  

In 1973, Project Tiger was started in India which was a unique plan to save tigers on the planet. The project was promoted by Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv Gandhi till 1990. Later on, several changes took place in the project. 

But according to WWF around 3,900 wild tigers are left in the world. Since the beginning of the 20th century, over 95% of the world's tiger population is lost. It is said that across the Asia, the snaring crisis poses a grave threat to wild tigers.

We can't deny the fact that tigers are the largest species of the cat family and also one of the most iconic animals on the planet. About a century ago, there may have been over 100,000 tigers that roam in the planet.

A conservational goal which is so ambitious was set up by the government of the 13 range countries to double the number of wild tigers by 2022 in the next Chinese year of the tiger. This is the TX2 goal.

International Tiger Day: History

International Tiger Day was established in 2010 at Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in Russia to raise awareness about the decline of wild tiger numbers, leaving them in the brink of extinction and to encourage the work of Tiger conservation. In the Summit, a declaration was made that Governments of tiger populated countries had vowed to double tiger population by 2020.Several events every year are organised by animal organisations like WWF, IFAW and the Smithsonian Institute.

What are the steps taken for the Conservation of Wildlife?

Reasons behind the declining population of Tigers

Poaching and illegal trade: For traditional Chinese medicines, tigers face problem of poaching as there is a demand of every part of the body of tiger. In the illegal wildlife trades they keep high prices.

Habitat loss: Nowadays and with the increasing population forest are becoming less in numbers. Clearing of forests for several reasons like agriculture, industries, etc. made loss of around 93% of the natural habitats of tigers.

Climate Change: With the rise of sea level due to climate change lead to wipe out of Sundarbans one of the habitats of Royal Bengal Tigers.

Several diseases are also the key factor. Several animals die and there is no way to ascertain the cause of their death. Certain diseases spread epidemic like Feline Panleucopania, tuberculosis etc.

- The study of Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in Ranthambore Tiger Reserve (RTR) says that tiger population in the park shown a loss of genetic diversityover the years.

Degradation of Habitats: Big cats want secure and disturbance free habitat to survive but due to several developmental activities in the landscape of the protected areas (PAs) pose big threat to tigers.

Man-animal conflict also affects the population of big cats.

Lack of protection infrastructure.

Increasing tourism day by day is also one of the factors for the decline in tiger numbers.

Lack of funds for the conservation of tiger is also one of the main reasons.

All India Tiger Estimation Report 2018

According to the report released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi namely 'All India Tiger Estimation Report 2018' India has achieved its 2022 target of tiger population in the country. India now has 2,967 tigers. The growth in the 4th cycle of the Tiger Census has been a 33 percent. 4 years before the deadline, India has achieved a target. Nine years ago in St. Petersburg it was decided to double the population of tiger by 2022.

Let us tell you that according to the census, Madhya Pradesh saw the highest number of tigers that is 526 which is closely followed by Karnataka at 524 and Uttarakhand with 442 tigers remaining at number 3 position.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on International Tiger Day said that "The story that started with Ek Tha Tiger and then continued with Tiger Zinda Hai, should not stop there. It should be baaghon mein bahaar hai".

There is a decline in the population of tiger in Chhattisgarh and Mizoram while tiger numbers in Odisha remained constant. 
Note: According to 2014 Census, total number of tigers in the country was 2226 while according to 2010 census figure was 1706 and  in 2006 figure was 1411. This indicates that the numbers of tigers have been continuously increasing.

Tigers are a part of our planets’ natural heritage; they also have a great cultural and historical significance. No doubt they are also crucial for the ecosystems in which they live. We can’t ignore that tigers not only protect the forest by maintaining ecological integrity but also they bring highest levels of protection and investment to an area. Therefore, we call them as “umbrella species" that is their conservation also conserve many other species in the same area.

So, protect and conserve tigers!

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