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mains Test Series 2018
International Tiger Day
Jul 29, 2017

[GS Paper III: (Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, EIA, Disaster and Disaster Management)]

Observed annually on 29 July, International Tiger Day – also known as Global Tiger Day – seeks to promote the protection and expansion of wild tiger habitats and to gain support through awareness for tiger conservation. 

  • The day was established in 2010 at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit with the global goal to double the number of wild tigers by the year 2022. 
  • There has been a loss of about 97% of all wild tigers in just over 100 years. 
  • There are around 3800 tigers in the world now and India is home to about 70% of them. 

Need for Tiger Conservation

  • Tiger is an ‘umbrella species’ and saving them would help in the conservation of other ecological species as well. 
  • Presence of tigers also acts as an indicator of the ecological health. 

Threats

  • Loss of habitat: Rapidly increasing urbanisation has led to the large scale loss of the natural habitats. Encroachment into the protected areas by conversion of buffer zones into farmlands, mining, deforestation, construction of dams and other such activities have worsened the situation. Along with the habitat, tigers also lose their prey base due to these factors. 
  • Poaching:  Tiger body parts sought for trophies and medicinal purposes are the main reasons behind the large scale tiger trafficking in the world. 
  • Man-animal conflict: Tigers have also become victims of climate change due to industrialisation and other anthropogenic changes. Submergence of some part of Panna Tiger Reserve due to Ken-Betwa river linking project in India is one of the prime examples of the conflict.

 India and Tiger Conservation

  • In 1952 the central government, concerned about the declining wildlife population in the country, set up the advisory body Indian Board for Wildlife (IBWL) in the country. Chaired by the Prime Minister, its mission was to conserve flora and fauna. In 2003, it was renamed the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL).
  • Project Tiger: India launched Project Tiger in 1973 for the conservation of its national animal. Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change introduced the scheme to provide central assistance to the States for tiger conservation in designated tiger reserves. 
  • The Project Tiger has increased its coverage from 9 to 50 functioning tiger reserves at present that are spread out in about 18 states. Bandipur, Kanha, Corbett, Manas, Ranthambore, Similipal, Sunderbans, Bandhavgarh are some of the important tiger reserves in the country.
  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is a statutory body constituted by the PM in 2005 to supervise and manage the Project Tiger and Tiger Reserves in the country.
  • In August 2016 India got its first repository on tigers under its new Tiger Cell from The Wildlife Institute of India (WII). The Tiger Cell would enhance the tiger conservation by assisting in population assessment, law enforcement, wildlife forensics, infrastructural development and mitigation, smart patrolling and performing advisory role in policy formulation. 
  • India has also adopted monitoring system like m-STrIPES to keep a better check on the wild cats in the country.

Way forward

The tiger is a unique animal which plays an important role in the health and diversity of an ecosystem. It is a top predator which sits at the apex of the food chain and keeps the population of wild ungulates in check, thereby maintaining the balance between prey herbivores and the vegetation upon which they feed. Therefore, the presence of tigers in the forest is an indicator of the well being of the ecosystem. Saving tiger is not just about saving a beautiful animal. It is about making sure that we live a little longer as the forests are known to provide ecological services like clean air, water, pollination, temperature regulation etc. 

PT Facts

  • With Bandipur, Nagarhole and Biligiri Ranganatha Temple tiger reserves, Karnataka has the largest number of tiger population in the country (289 tigers).
  • Global Tiger Forum is an inter-governmental body for the conservation of tigers. 


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