July 29 is celebrated as Global Tiger Day annually to raise awareness for tiger conservation
At the St. Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010, leaders of 13 tiger range countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam.) resolved to do more for the tiger and embarked on efforts to double its number in the wild, with a popular slogan ‘T X 2’.
They vowed to double its population by 2020
This is the eighth annual International Tiger Day.
The primary goal behind International Tiger Day is to promote a global environment to protect the natural habitats of tigers and support for issues pertaining to conservation of tigers.
INDIA AND TIGERS:
India is the nation is home to about 70% of the tiger population in the world
As per the assessment of the Status of Tigers, Co-predators and Prey (2014), the number of tigers in the country is estimated at 2,226 as compared to the 2010 estimate of 1,706.
There are 49 tiger reserves in India, amounting to almost 2.2% of the country’s geographical area which are governed by Project Tiger which is administrated by the National Tiger Conservation Authority(NTCA).
Project Tiger is a tiger conservation programme launched in 1973 by the Government of India. The project was launched in the Corbett National Park of Uttarakhand.
Project tiger’s main aims were to:
- Limit factors that leads to reduction of tiger habitats and to mitigate them by suitable management. The damages done to the habitat were to be rectified so as to facilitate the recovery of the ecosystem to the maximum possible extent.
- Ensure a viable population of tigers for economic, scientific, cultural, aesthetic and ecological values.
THREATS TO TIGER POPULATION
- Poaching for illegal trade
- Land degradation and Deforestation
- The Ministry of Environment recently said that 45% of the tiger deaths between 2012 and 2017 could be attributed to unnatural reasons.
- Of the 45%, 22% of the deaths were due to poaching,
- 15% due to seizures of body parts and the remaining could be attributed to road and railway accidents.
- In 2017, 115 tigers died and in 2016, the number of deaths was 122.
- The Ministry has admitted that there is a 29% frontline staff vacancy against sanctioned posts in the tiger reserves of the country
WAY FORWARD TO SAVE THE BIG CAT:
There is an urgent need for Capacity Building of Forest Staff
Need for better survelliance of tiger corridors
A citizen’s charter is needed for green development within sustainable tiger landscapes
India has the potential to be the Global Leader in tiger Conservation