Tiger is the most charismatic and ferocious wild cat and the national animal of India. Tiger symbolizes India’s wildlife wealth. It is considered as the national animal because of its grace, strength, agility and enormous power. Also, India is the land of the largest number of tigers in the world and consists of 50% of the world’s tiger population. Yet this creature is the most slaughtered one in the country and was on the verge of getting extinct.
TIGER CONSERVATION : INDIA’S SUCCESS
Tigers (Panthera tigris) are the largest living cat species and a member of the genus Panthera. They are the most powerful of all cats and are extremely agile despite their large size. They're among the most magnificent beasts in nature. Every year, July 29 is celebrated as World Tiger Day with an aim to make the people aware about the need to conserve the majestic big cat, which is a keystone species. On the eve of International Tiger Day, India had shared some heartening statistics. 70% of the world's tigers roam freely in India’s forests. Tigers are getting extinct in other habitats. Here is a rare success story, the story of India’s successful conservation of top carnivorous.
An alarming prediction was made in 1973. India had just finished conduction a census of the tigers. The news was ominous, only two thousand tigers were remaining. The widespread hunting and poaching dragged the Royal Bengal Tiger to the brink of extinction. That prediction was made almost 50 years back. Now the sun has slowly begun to rise. India has managed to bring the tiger back from the verge of extinction. The tiger population in India has grown significantly. It stood at less than 2,000 in 2006 ; 1706 in 2010 ; 2226 in 2014 and 2967 in 2018. The last census of the tiger population took place in 2018. The numbers had shot up to almost 3,000. Today, India is home to 70% of the wild tigers in the world.
This shows that India's efforts to save the tiger are paying off. A series of significant changes led to the dramatic turnaround. It started with an embargo on tiger poaching. The next move was to set up tiger reserves in India. In April 1973, The Government of India launched a tiger conservation programme - Project Tiger. As the Royal Bengal Tiger is the wildlife wealth of our country, this project aims to stem the decreasing population of the big cats and work to upsurge their numbers.
Due to Project Tiger, India is succeeding in keeping its tigers safe and sound and it’s setting annals while doing so. In early July 2021, India's 2018 tiger census sets Guinness World Record. It was the largest ever camera trap wildlife survey conducted anywhere in the world. According to the survey, India is home to nearly 3,000 tigers. That is a 30 percent increase in the tiger population in just 4 years.
The credit of skyrocketing the tiger population goes to Project Tiger. Without this Tiger Conservation Programme, the great Bengal Tiger would have joined the list of extinct tigers just like the Balinese, Caspian and Javanese subspecies. When Project Tiger was launched in 1973, India had around 1,800 tigers , down from one hundred thousand tigers at the flip of the 20th Century. The colonial elite and Indian Royals had nearly made them disappear by hunting. The Project stammered in its fight against hunting tigers. In 2006, the numbers fell to 1411. This dramatically remodeled India’s approach to preserve its national animal. At the beginning of the Project Tiger, when the tiger population had dropped, India had just simply 9 tiger reserves. Today, that number has full-grown to fifty two present in eighteen states of India. These reserves allowed the tigers to form a comeback. The Indian Government needs to work to a greater extent.
On International Tiger Day 2021 (Celebrated each year on July 29th as a way to increase awareness about this magnificent but vulnerable cat.) , Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated India’s commitment to confirm safe habitats for tigers. He said that India has already target of doubling the population of tigers in 4 years. Further developments can be and India is on the right path to save the big cat. India’s success on doubling the tiger population is a lesson to 13 other countries. Nepal and Bhutan are fighting to save tigers even in their reserves. The group had met in Russia where they pledged to double the tiger count by 2022. Around the world, about 93 percent of the tigers’ traditional range is gone due to habitat loss, poaching and lack of prey ; but India is finding solution. In 2019 , a huge sum of approximately 50 million dollars was invested in tiger conservation programme. That includes relocating villages outside the protected areas. India has also built the world’s biggest animal subway, to let tiger safely pass underneath a highway however additional such measures are required, if the tiger’s roar should ring through India’s forests.
Tiger is a symbolic species and yet it is slowly vanishing. There could be possibilities that our future generation never gets to see tigers in reality but only in pictures. So, it's very important that citizens of India take all preventive measures to save this endangered species. Tigers have a special place in our planet and in our lives , so we must do all that we can to protect them.