The magnificent Bengal Tiger.
A combination of grace, strength, agility and enormous power has earned the tiger its pride of place as the national animal of India. But the worrying factor is that Tigers are one of the most endangered species. Like many other endangered speices, poaching, hunting, habitat loss and reclaiming the rivers for human needs are making the survival of Tiger difficult.
There is a reference to interconnectivity of forests and tigers in Mahabharata.
Tigers cannot survive without forests
Forests perish without tigers.
Tigers protect the forests that nurture them
The Mahabharata Udyoga Parva
July 29 is celebrated across the world as “International Tiger Day” to raise awareness about the striped big cats, which are on the brink of extinction, and to encourage tiger conservation.
It all started in 2010 when the resolution was adopted at Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit. The governments of tiger-populated countries resolved to work to double the tiger population by 2022. This year marks the tenth International Tiger Day.
The good news for India is, according to the latest census, the tiger population is increasing at a rate of 6% a year. Thanks to the governmental efforts, the tiger reserves have grown to 50 from what used to be nine in 1973. There are five zones in the country that works for the conservation of the tigers-Shivalik Hills and Gangetic Plains Landscape, Central Indian Landscape and Eastern Ghats, Western Ghats Landscape, North East Hills and Brahmaputra plains Landscape and the Sundarbans. “Project Tiger” commissioned by the government has started showing the results. World Wildlife Fund indicates that there are only around 3,900 tigers remain in the wild across the globe. Since the beginning of the 20th Century, the planet has lost more than 95% of the world’s tiger population.
Significance of conservation of tiger gains importance as the tiger is an “umbrella species”, its conservation enables the conservation of their entire ecosystems. Umbrella species are species selected for making conservation-related decisions. Tigers are also referred to as a keystone species as they’re integral to the health of the ecosystems in which they live.
What are fingerprints to humans, stripes are to tigers. No two tigers have the same stripes. Stripes range in colour from light brown to black and are not symmetrical on both sides of the body.
As per the latest count, India has less than 3000 tigers and it is 75% of the world tiger population. There was a time where there were more than 40,000 Bengal Tigers wandering in the wild. India is taking lead in tiger preservation. The National Tiger Conservation Authority is interacting with 13 other countries and provide better technology and planning for tiger conservation.