Guwahati: Every year the world gallops into celebrating the International Tiger Day on July 29. The day which started as an awareness day raising the issue of tiger conservation and protecting the stripped beasts which are an endangered species.
Of lately, due to rapid urbanization and industrialization, tigers have lost 90 percent of their natural habitat and their world population is less than 4,000.
The realization that wild tiger population has dropped by more than 95 percent since the beginning of the 20th century, led to the creation of International Tiger Day.
The day was marked for the first time in November 2010 at the ‘Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit’ in Russia, which aimed to promote a global system for protecting the natural habitats of the big cats and to raise public awareness and support for tiger conservation issues around the world.
Thirteen tiger-range countries participated in the Summit, namely, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Summit host Russia. The Summit decided on the goal to increase the population of wild tigers to over 6,000 by 2022 – the next Chinese year of the tiger.
As per ‘Status of Tigers, Co-predators & Prey in India’ report released by Union forest and environment minister Prakash Javadekar on the eve of International Tiger Day, total big cat population in India stands at 2,967 as compared to 1,400 in 2014. As per estimates, India is home to 75 per cent of world tiger population.
Javadekar said that India’s Project Tiger was launched in 1973 with just 9 tiger reserves. “Today, India has 50 reserves having 2,967 tigers. Tiger sits at the peak of the food chain and the increased numbers is a testimony of the robust bio-diversity,” said the minister.
With 231 tigers, Jim Corbett national park in Uttarakhand is the largest habitat of the big cats in India. Corbett’s tiger count has been rising – from 137 in 2006 to 174 in 2010 and 215 in 2014.
Corbett is followed by Nagarhole (127) and Bandipur (126),both in Karnataka; Bandhavgarh in Madhya Pradesh and Kaziranga in Assam (104 each). Among states, Madhya Pradesh topped the tiger estimation, with 526 (it had 308 last time), going past Karnataka (524 this time, 406 earlier).
Corbett is the only reserve with more than 200 tigers and with the highest tiger density in India at 14. The count is Dudhwa Tiger Reserve has also went up from 58 to 82. Pilibhit reserve’s population is also up by two to 57.
To support the cause of saving the tigers, you could also adopt a big cat at World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature and help the species thrive.