Today, July 29, marks Global Tiger Day, and there’s no better way to celebrate than with the knowledge that India’s tiger population has doubled in 12 years.
Global Tiger Day aims to raise awareness about the importance of tiger conservation, because a lot of work is needed to ensure tigers have a future in the wild.
The WWF estimates that there are approximately 3,900 wild tigers left on the planet, and while numbers are starting to pick back up following a century of decline, they are still considered an endangered species.
In 1973, India launched Project Tiger with plans try and double the country’s tiger population by 2022. At the time, India was home to just nine tiger reserves, covering 18,278 sq km in nine states.
Now, there are 50 tiger reserves spread over an area of 72,749 sq km in 18 tiger-range states.
The All India Tiger Estimation Report, a report about the status of the animals, noted the population estimation of tigers for 2018-19 and found the number of tigers more than doubled between 2006 and 2018, increasing from 1,411 to 2,967.
The reported added that there are 1,923 tigers within reserves, making up 65% of the total population of tigers in India.
Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of tigers in the country, with 526 of the big cats, followed by Karnataka with 524 and Uttarakhand with 442.
The environment minister commented:
In 1973, there were just nine tiger reserves which have now increased to 50. It is important to know that none of these reserves are of poor quality. Either they are good or the best.
Despite India’s constraint of 2.5% of global land, 4% of rainfall and 16 % of world’s human population, India is home to 8% of world’s biodiversity, which includes 70% of the world’s tiger population.
Following the success of Project Tiger, Javadekar said India is now ready to become a leader and work with 12 other tiger-range countries to manage their tiger reserves, train them and build their capacity, reports.
There are currently 13 tiger-range countries, including India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.
India’s President Kovind celebrated the news on Twitter, writing:
On #InternationalTigerDay, the world lauds India’s momentous success in doubling tiger population in 12 years. I compliment National Tiger Conservation Authority, Wildlife Institute of India, State Forest Depts, forest officers & all stakeholders for this feat #IndiasTigerSuccess.
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu added:
On International Tiger Day today, let us spread greater awareness on the importance of protecting tigers and the crucial role they play in preserving the ecosystems in which they live in. #IndiasTigerSuccess
Hopefully the population will continue to increase and further secure the population for the future.