International Tiger Day – 29th July 2020
Tiger is one such animal that is a synonym to Royal or majestic. In India, we have been associating Tiger to being Royal from centuries that is why our national animal has been declared as Tiger. We were able to find Tiger, plenty in number in India, Bangladesh, Malaysia and South Korea. Like India and Bangladesh, Tiger was found plenty in number globally. Gradually due to cutting down of the forest range and other reasons are adding to the decrease in the number of Tigers.
Tigers are now one of the species that are almost nearing extinction. Due to these reasons, there is an international day declared to spread awareness of Tiger conservation. Global Tiger Day or International Tiger Day is annually celebrated on 29th July. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness on Tiger conservation.
International Tiger Day 2020 – History
Why is International Tiger day celebrated on 29th July? The celebration is done on 29th July as a reminder of the agreement signed by countries in Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in Russia in the year 2010, to raise awareness about the decreasing Tiger population globally. Also, the representatives declared that the Tiger populated countries would make efforts to almost double the Tiger population by the year 2022.
International Tiger Day is celebrated to spread awareness on decreasing Tiger population globally and to promote Tiger conservation. It also promotes the protection of natural habitats for Tiger. This international day is celebrated annually with the slogan “ Their Survival is in our hands”. Also, this day was declared in view of the alarming fall in the number of wild Tigers.
International Tiger Day 2020 – Significance
The importance of this day is to create awareness on the declining tiger population and conserving Tigers globally. To protect and promote the conservation of natural habitats for tigers, support the cause economically and financially. Observing World Tiger day is also significant because according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), currently there are only 3900 wild tigers globally. From the beginning of the 20th century, around 95 percent of the tiger population has been lost in various activities like poaching etc.
Despite efforts in conserving tigers from the year 1970’s, the tiger population showed a rapid decrease in number. Therefore in the year 2010 at the St. Petersburg Declaration, Tiger range countries have resolved to double the number of tigers by the year 2022.
Tigers are one of the most majestic and royal species that we have seen globally. They are also called the “Umbrella Species” as their conservation also helps conserve many other species in the same Habitat.
Tiger also called Panthera tigris is one of the largest cat species that is surviving in some range of the world. It is a member of the genus Panthera. Tiger is an alpha predator that preys on animals like deer and wild boar. Tiger is a sole predator. You can never see Tigers preying in groups. Tigers need larger areas of Habitat. Caging does not work well for Tigers; hence you see larger areas left open for Tigers in Zoo and other wildlife reservoirs. Tiger cubs live their mothers for two years. Once they become independent, they leave their mother’s home range to find their own Habitat.
The word Tiger may have been derived from the Greek word ‘Tigris’. The word Tiger is also associated with the river Tigris. The origin of the word Tiger could also have been the Persian word Tigra means pointed or sharp, and the Avestan word tigrhi that means arrow. This is the Etymology behind naming the animal as Tiger, though none of these words has any meaning associated with Tiger. It some how can be related to one or the other features of the Tiger.
The genetic name Panthera is derived from the Latin word panther. There are words in Greek, that is panther and Sanskrit is pand-ara that can be the source of the genetic name. The Sanskrit word pand-ara means ‘pale yellow, whitish, white’, symbolizing the colour of the animal.
Tiger Conservation in India
Tiger is the national animal of India. India has always been leading in conserving its national animal. Project Tiger was launched in India in the year 1973. Because of the planned efforts under Project Tiger in the current situation, India has the maximum number of tigers in the world. In a country level assessment in the year, India noticed a 30 percent increase of tigers that is from 1706 to 2010. The number of tigers in the year 2014 was 2226.
As per the latest Tiger estimation report released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India’s Tiger population is 2967 tigers. This is the highest number of Tigers a country has globally. India has 75 percent of tiger population amongst the total global tiger population.
Reasons for decrease in Tiger population
Poaching and illegal trade – Poaching of tiger happens as there is a huge demand for each body part of the tiger from Whiskers to its tail. Tiger body parts are in great demand for traditional Chinese medicine; hence they fetch big money in the illegal wildlife trade.
Habitat Loss – The tiger Habitats have encroached in a big way. Humans have cut down the forest area for purposes like agricultural lands, timber and to create enough living space for themselves. The cutting of forest has lead to 93 percent loss of natural habitat of tigers hence lowering chances of survival. It has led to the conflict between humans and tigers, where both are competing for their own spaces.
Climate changes – Rising of the sea levels is wiping out the Sundarbans, the largest tiger habitat of Royal Bengal Tigers.
Ways to Conserve Tigers
Here are a few ways by which we can help conserve and increase the tiger population.
Conserve natural habitats: Let us not cut down the forests for our needs. Let us help save forests hence saving the natural habitat for Tigers. Along with tigers, it will also help save the entire wildlife.
Control Climate changes: Lets us make efforts to control the climatic changes. It will not be wise of us to drive it from bad to worse. This increase in heat is melting the ice, eventually rising the sea levels. This increase in the Sea levels is wiping out the Sundarbans (mangrove forests). Controlling the climatic changes will help us save Sundarbans, the largest habitat for Royal Bengal tigers.
Save tigers from illegal trade: Let us make efforts to save tigers from illegal trade. If there is any information that you have about such an activity happening around you, please inform the police, they will help you stop this trading of tigers.
Prefer Sanctuaries / Reservoirs to Zoo: Wildlife Sanctuaries are bigger spaces and when amongst nature, tigers are much at home than being caged in a zoo. Hence encourage more Sanctuaries and natural reservoirs.
Different Species of Tigers
- Siberian Tiger – The tigers that live in icy conditions only.
- Bengal Tiger – These tigers are found in Asia. In Asia Bengal tigers are found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal.
- Indochinese Tiger – These tigers can be seen in several Asian Countries. Indochinese Tigers are found in Burma, Cambodia, Laos, China, Vietnam and Thailand.
- Malaysian Tiger – These tigers can be found only in the south of the Malay Peninsula.
- South China Tigers – These are one of the most endangered tiger subspecies. They are more endangered than the Sumatran tigers.
- Sumatran Tigers – These tigers are the largest member of the cat family and one of the most charismatic endangered species on the planet.
Extinct Tiger Species
- Bali Tiger
- Caspian Tiger
- Javan Tiger
- Tiger Hybrids
There are different colours of tigers like White tigers, Brown tiger with black stripes and Golden tigers. It is such a pleasant sight to watch this charismatic animal walk in all its majesty. Let us let them live happily in their natural habitats and breed more and a number of them. Love and let the tiger live!