The tiger isn’t simply a charismatic species or just another wild animal living in some far forest. The tiger could be a distinctive animal that plays a important role within the health and diversity of an ecosystem. It is a prime predator that is at the apex of the food chain and keeps the population of untamed ungulates under control, thereby maintaining the balance between prey herbivores and the vegetation upon which they feed.
Therefore, the presence of tigers within the forest is an indicator of the well being of the ecosystem. The extinction of this top predator is a sign that its ecosystem isn’t sufficiently protected, and neither would it exist for long thereafter.
So once a species goes extinct, it leaves behind a scar, that affects the whole ecosystem. Another reason why we want to save the tiger is that our forests are water catchment areas.
Therefore, it’s not just about saving a gorgeous animal. It is about making certain that we live a bit longer because the forests are known to produce ecological services like clean air, water, fertilisation, temperature regulation etc.
In India, one of the main tiger protection initiatives is called Project Tiger. This initiative was started in 1973 by Indira Gandhi and has, till today, established more than 25 tiger reserves throughout the country. In order to protect these animals ,these reserves have been established on reclaimed land, where human development and inhabitation is forbidden.
As a result of this programmed and its efforts, the population of Bengal Tigers had raised from about 200 in 1973 to a formidable 3500+ in 2007. Although poaching remains an enormous threat, and thousands of tigers are killed as a result, these conservation and protection efforts can’t be ignored. Sadly, though, about 60% of the tigers alive in the census of 2007 have been slaughtered at the hands of illegal hunters.
The main aim of Project Tiger has been to help and facilitate the breeding of tigers inside a secure environment and then transport these tigers further afield so that the worlds population can be upped. WWF-India conducts regular environment education activities with local communities, stakeholders and the wider civil society to make them aware about the critical issues facing conservation, and the steps they can take to help.
These awareness programmed are targeted at school children and teachers in schools around tiger reserves as well as urban cities. Awareness programmed are organised for numerous responsible stakeholders in touristy, encouraging them to follow and promote environment and wildlife friendly practices around wildlife habitats. Local communities are engaged in programmed that discourage the looking of untamed animals.
Improvement in Survey Techniques
It is not just the tiger numbers that have improved but the very method of estimating tigers has improved too over the decades. What brought a huge change in the estimation method of the tiger population was the disappearance of tigers from the Sariska Tiger Reserve in 2005.
This was the biggest crisis faced in the history of tiger conservation in India. The government responded by appointing a tiger task force that was mandated not only to look into causes of tiger disappearance from Sariska but also to look into the practice of tiger conservation in the country and give recommendations so that a Sariska-like situation does not arise anywhere else.
The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 was amended in 2006 and a separate chapter on tiger was inserted, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau were created, methodology of tiger estimation was changed to more robust and scientific one using camera traps, core-buffer-corridor strategy was adopted, village rehabilitation on a voluntary basis with generous incentive was introduced and so on. All these actions paved the way for tiger recovery in India.
Factors that adversely affect the Tiger
The depletion of the tiger population in the country has been mainly due to shrinkage of tiger habitat, biotic interference in habitat, hunting of prey animals, poaching of tigers and poisoning. In a mass hunting tribal tradition in Odisha and West Bengal, and some parts of Chhattisgarh, for example, hunters wipe out any wild animal they encounter.
The big cat is also facing threat from the degradation of forest status outside protected areas/tiger reserves due to human pressure, livestock pressure, ecologically unsustainable land uses, fragmentation leading to loss of gene flow from source populations, loss of forest quality in terms of prey biomass, loss of reproduction due to disturbance on account of heavily used infrastructure like highways and lack of adequate protection in outside areas, insurgency, law and order problems.
How Endangered are Tigers
Conservation efforts in recent years mean that tiger numbers are on the increase, however they’re in no way out of the woods yet.
Current tiger populations are extraordinarily tough to calculate as their home ground is so fragmented, however the cats are classified as endangered.
The conservation of tigers isn’t with regards to increasing their numbers as a lot of tigers need more habitat, that is changing into less and less obtainable daily. It is necessary that tiger populations stop dwindling, and habitat stops being lost.
Threats Tigers are Facing
Tigers face an associated degree of increased range of issues once it involves living within the regions they need antecedently thrived certain thousands of years.
- Poaching – each single a part of the tiger is listed in illegal markets. It is employed in ancient Asian medication that has no healthful worth in any respect, creating the deaths of those animals for this purpose needless.
- Habitat Loss – tigers have lost ninety three percent of their historical vary as their surround has been destroyed or degraded by human act.
- Human-Wildlife Conflict – with smaller forests to hunt in, tigers are forced to kill farm animal and once they do the farmers usually retaliate and kill the large cat.
Here are some practical steps you can take to help save the tiger
Spread the word
- Spread the word far and wide that the tiger and its habitat are under threat and that they need our help. You can use social networking sites to open discussion and spread awareness.
Be a responsible tourist
- The wilderness is to be experienced and not to be disturbed and contaminated. Follow the forest department pointers once visiting any space ( geographical area) , tiger reserve above all. As the saying goes ‘Don’t leave anything behind except foot steps, and don’t take anything except memories.
Voice your concerns with the policy makers
- If you are really concerned and feel that more needs to be done for tiger conservation, then write polite letters to the decision makers – the Prime Minister, the Minister for Environment and Forests or even your local MP.
Help prevent wildlife trade
- Say ‘NO’ to tiger trade by refusing to buy tiger parts and items prepared from tiger derivatives. If you recognize of any information on poaching or trade of illegal wildlife, inform the local law enforcement agencies. You can also contact TRAFFIC- an organization fighting the powerful poachers and pass on the knowledge to them.
Reducing pressure on natural resources
- By reducing the use of products derived from forests, such as timber and paper.