World Tiger Day, also known as International Tiger Day, is observed on July 29 every year. An annual celebration aimed towards protecting the natural habitat of tigers, to boost awareness and support for tiger conservation issues.
According to the report of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the number of tigers is rising (since 2010) after almost a decade. An increase in number has been noticed in India, Russia, Nepal, and Bhutan due to improved surveys as well as enhanced protection. However, even when they say so, about 93 per cent of lands tiger known to occupy have disappeared. Around 3,900 tigers mostly Southeast Asian tigers are now in the wild but are still under the threat of extinction.
A survey by WWF in 2016 points out, an estimate of about 5,000 tigers lives in captivity in zoos or as pets in the United States alone, more than the wild tigers left in the world. Recent reports suggest that captive tigers may number as many as 7,000, but no one knows for certain.
As per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, the number of tigers has reduced between 2,150 and 3,160, from about 100,000 a century ago.
Importance of Tiger conservation:
Tigers are the largest among the species of cats and one of the most iconic animals on the planet. From the beginning of the 20th century, the tiger population began to witness a decline.
A high ambitious conservational goal was set up by the government of 13 tiger range countries to double the number of wild tigers by 2022. This is the TX2 goal, which started in the year 2010 and will prolong for 12 years (2010 – 2022).
Why double tiger’s number, rather than save?
There is no stop for the decline in tiger population even after constant efforts made to protect them since the 1970s. The tiger range countries decided to set a goal named TX2. Rather than saving the tigers, this strategy takes a long – term approach. The mission aims to protect the current habitat of tiger’s, maintaining wildlife corridors and preserve and improve the resources of areas where tigers can be in future.
Tiger conservation in Indian scenario:
India is all set to increase the number of tigers, although the facts are tigers are declining. There are various reasons for the decline in the figure; some of them are:
- Human invasion into the forest
- Habitat loss
- Poaching & Illegal Trade
- Climatic changes
- Lack of funds
Angry mob attacking the tigers have been reported now and then, and such cases will repeat; when better protection and conservation measures inside tiger reserves will lead to multiply and spill out of the borders of their protected homes, into human territories. This, in turn, leads to locals going against the species and thereby hampering the efforts of conservation.
A changed in peoples mindset is inevitable. Proper education about tigers, wildlife, and the ecosystem should be given to people who face such situations every day. It is necessary to impart more strict and joint attention to human-tiger conflicts. A unified plan is to be created to make people understand that they are the protectors of tigers and forest.
Agreed that all this is easier said than done, but a combined action can create an impact. Let us all unite to protect the big cats.