International Tiger Day underlines need to protect endangered species

  • 7 days   ago
International Tiger Day 2020

Global Tiger Day 2020 slogan - ‘Their Survival is in Our Hands’ gathers universal momentum.

The International Tiger Day was celebrated globally yesterday to spread awareness about the need to protect tigers which are an endangered species. Global Tiger Day, often called International Tiger Day (ITD), is an annual celebration to raise awareness for tiger conservation, held every year on 29 July, since it was created in November 2010 at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit., Russia. 
The goal of the day is to promote a global system for protecting the natural habitats of tigers and to raise public awareness and support for tiger conservation issues.
When the day was marked for the first time 13 tiger-range countries participated in the summit, namely: India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Summit host Russia. 
The Summit decided on the goal to increase the population of wild tigers to over 6,000 by 2022 –the next Chinese year of the tiger. 
The idea behind International Tiger Day has always been to spread awareness, making more and more people understand why tigers are important and what is the threat to their survival. 
The first step is educating those who are interested in International Tiger Day is to educate themselves about factors like illegal wildlife trade, human wildlife conflict and habitat loss which impact tiger population. 
Another way by which people educated themselves is by watching documentaries available on the internet. 
To support the cause of saving the tigers, you can even adopt a big cat at World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature and help the species thrive. 
Sharing images, posters on your social media profiles to make other people aware of International Tiger Day is another popular way.
Several animal rights agencies also organise online and offline events and competitions around the day.
In India as per ‘Status of Tigers, Co-predators & Prey in India’ report released by Union forest and environment minister Prakash Javadekar on the eve of International Tiger Day, total big cat population in India stands at 2,967 as compared to 1,400 in 2014. As per estimates, India is home to 75% of world tiger population. 
Javadekar said that India's Project Tiger was launched in 1973 with just 9 tiger reserves. "Today, India has 50 reserves having 2,967 tigers. Tiger sits at the peak of the food chain and the increased numbers is a testimony of the robust bio-diversity," said the minister. 
With 231 tigers, Jim Corbett national park in Uttarakhand is the largest habitat of the big cats in India. Corbett’s tiger count has been rising — from 137 in 2006 to 174 in 2010 and 215 in 2014. 
Corbett is the only reserve with more than 200 tigers and with the highest tiger density in India at 14. The count in Dudhwa Tiger Reserve has also went up from 58 to 82. Pilibhit reserve’s population is also up by two to 57. 
Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary which used to be a non-tiger zone in Uttar Pradesh, now has only one tiger. However, Mizoram’s Dampa reserve and Bengal’s Buxa lost the six tigers they had between them. 
An estimated 3,900 tigers remain in the wild, but much more work is needed to protect this species if we are to secure its future in the wild. In some areas, including much of Southeast Asia, tigers are still in crisis and decline.
The main reasons for the loss of tiger population is poaching, climate change, and the destruction of their natural habitat.
However, there is still a need to create immense amount of awareness around tiger conservation and build a safe natural habitat for this incredible species. According to the research papers published in a science journal Current Biology, the Caspian, Javan and Bali tigers have already gone extinct.
"This study is the first to reveal the tiger's natural history from a whole-genomic perspective. It provides robust, genome-wide evidence for the origin and evolution of this charismatic megafauna species," said Shu-Jin Luo of Peking University in Beijing.
The lack of consensus over the number of tiger subspecies has partially hindered the global effort to recover the species from the brink of extinction. 
The decline of tigers means "maximising the efforts to preserve the genetic diversity, evolutionary uniqueness, and potential of the species Panthera tigris," said the study.
The researchers plan to study old specimens with known origin from all over China to fill in the missing pieces of living tigers' evolutionary history.
Here are ten interesting facts about tigers:
  1. A tiger’s roar can be heard as far as three kilometers away
  2. No two tigers have the same stripes.
  3. There were eight tiger subspecies at one time, but three became extinct during the 20th century.
  4. Tigers live alone and aggressively scent-mark large territories to keep their rivals away
  5. At full speed, tigers can race upto 65km/h
  6. Tigers are good swimmers!
  7. Tigers are the largest wild cats in the world and can weigh up to 363 kilograms
  8. Tigers can climb trees under stress!
  9. Tiger cubs are born blind and attain clear vision after 6-8 weeks of birth
  10. The average life span of a tiger in the wild is about 11 years.
In order to protect just one tiger, we have to conserve around 25,000 acres of forest and if the global community does not step forward and protect these endangered species than the oft-repeated children bedtime story that begins with the words, ‘ One upon a time there was a tiger’ will unfortunately be a reality for future generations.