International Tiger Day 2021: Tiger is one such animal that is a synonym to royal or majestic. In India, we have been associating the tiger with being royal for centuries; that is why our national animal has been declared as tiger. Gradually, cutting down the forest range and other reasons adds to the decrease in the number of tigers.
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International Tiger Day 2021 (29th July)
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.
International Tiger Day 2021 – History
Why is International Tiger Day observed on 29th July? The celebration is done on 29th July as a reminder of the agreement signed by countries in the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in Russia in 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 2021 Theme & Significance
This international day is celebrated annually with the slogan/theme “Their Survival is in our hands”. The importance of this day is to create awareness of the declining tiger population and conserving tigers globally. 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% of the tiger population has been lost in various activities like poaching.
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 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 conserve many other species in the same habitat.
Tiger Conservation in India
Tiger, also called Panthera tigris, is one of the largest cat species 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 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% increase of tigers 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% of the 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.
- 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 create enough living space. The cutting of forest has led to a 93% loss of tigers’ natural habitat, hence lowering the chances of survival. It has led to the conflict between humans and tigers, competing for their own spaces.
- Climate changes – Rising sea levels are 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.
- 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 raising 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 the Royal Bengal 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 cat family member 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!