International Tiger Day
The International Tiger Day is observed on 29 July as an annual reminder of the agreement to save the fast disappearing tigers and raise awareness about the giant feline. This agreement was signed by several tiger-hosting countries at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit which was organized in Russia in the year 2010.
What the agreement was?
The signatories of the agreement had declared that governments of tiger-hosting countries would attempt to double the tiger’s population by 2022. Especially in India, a campaign designed to increase the awareness about tiger conservation was launched with much determination to save the pride of Indian forests. However, in part due to falling jungle covers and habitat fragmentation, the man-animal conflict in tiger-rich areas has worsened.
What is the significance of the event?
The World Tiger Day is significant as it aims to protect the tiger, which is one of the few apex predators left in the wild today. As per the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the number of tigers in the wild is only 3,900 currently.
What India has done?
According to WWF reports, more than 95 % of the global tiger population in the wild was lost to various activities like poaching, etc, since the beginning of the 20th century. Even in India, in 1900s, a lot of 1,00,000-odd tigers were thought to be in the wild. In 1970s, the tiger population in India was just 1800 tigers.
- When conservationists, both in India and abroad, wanted the government to implement a special scheme to save wild tigers and their habitats. This led to the birth of the Project Tiger in 1973 which was inaugurated in Corbett National Park.
- A total of 9 areas were shortlisted by the Indian government for complete protection and state of the art management to save the tiger. In 1973, the Wildlife Protection Act was also enacted in the Parliament.
- There are just under 50 tiger reserves in India all of which are governed by Project Tiger. The Project Tiger is administrated by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
- Currently, India is home to 70% of the tiger population in the world.
- In 2008, there were 1,411 tigers which increased to 1,706 in 2010 and 2,226 in 2014.
India currently has 2967 tigers. The figures were released by the Prime Minister of India.