The awe-inspiring tiger is one of the most iconic animals on Earth. The tiger population across the world dropped sharply since the beginning of the 20th century but now for the first time in conservation history, their numbers are on the rise. In good news for India, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday said the country has 70 percent of the world’s tiger population. Global Tiger Day, also called the International Tiger Day, is an annual event marked to raise awareness for tiger conservation. It is observed every year on July 29. It was started in 2010 at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit, with the aim to promote a global system for protecting the natural habitats of tigers and raise awareness among people on why tiger conservation must be supported.
Centrality of Tiger Agenda:
- The centrality of tiger agenda is an ecological necessity for the sustainability of our environment.
- An umbrella species, the tiger signifies the health of the ecosystem services which support life on the planet.
- The carbon locked up in tiger forests provide a great adaptation to the threats of climate change.
- The aesthetic, ethical and cultural values of tigers are the critical factors for saving tigers.
- The presence of tigers in the forest is an indicator of the well being of the ecosystem.
- They prevent over-grazing by limiting herbivore numbers and maintain ecological integrity.
- Tigers attracting tourists, which provide incomes for local communities.
- Habitat loss and poaching continue to pose a threat to the animal’s
- Tiger parts are used in traditional Chinese medicines, tiger skin is used for decorative and medicinal purposes.
- Habitat degradation by human beings and other natural factors (such as fires and floods).
- The loss of habitat resulted in the reduction of their prey species.
- The Ken-Betwa River interlinking project would have greater impact on Panna Tiger Reserve.
- India has more than 70% of the world’s wild tigers.
- India is in a leadership position on the tiger front globally.
- The Project Tiger, launched in 1973, has grown to more than 50 reserves amounting to almost 2.2% of the country’s geographical area.
- A few months ago, the first successful inter-state translocation of a pair of tigers was carried out from tiger reserves in Madhya Pradesh to Satkosia in Odisha.
- The 2018 All India Tiger Estimation is currently underway and is said to be the world’s largest wildlife survey in terms of “coverage, intensity of sampling and quantum of camera trapping.”
- The initiatives are many
- Enabling provisions for tiger in the national legislation.
- Creation of National Tiger Conservation Authority.
- Stepping up allocation for the tiger.
- Increase in Project Tiger coverage.
- Modern protocol for field monitoring: Monitoring System for Tigers – Intensive Protection and Ecological Status (M-STrIPES).
- Year-round monitoring of tiger and prey.
- Bilateral pacts with neighbours.
- Founder member of GTF and ongoing collaboration.
- Online database of tiger crime.
- Strict adherence to guidelines for responsible ecotourism in tiger reserves.
Reasons for Increase in Tiger Population:
- There has been no organised poaching by traditional gangs in Central Indian landscapes since 2013.
- Due to increased vigilance and conservation efforts by the Forest Department. Organised poaching rackets have been all but crushed
- The rehabilitation of villages outside core areas in many parts of the country has led to the availability of more inviolate space for tigers.
- The increased protection has encouraged the tiger to breed.
- The estimation exercises have become increasingly more accurate over the years. Wildlife officials used mobile application M-STrIPES (Monitoring System For Tigers-Intensive Protection and Ecological Status) to estimate the big cat population.
- The M-STrIPES, the application used by forest guards, is GPS-enabled and helps to capture data relating to tiger sightings, deaths, wildlife crime and ecological observations while patrolling
- We have to create a healthy balance between sustainability and development.
- Forest corridors linking protected areas must be maintained where they exist.
- Existing habitats have to be surveyed and improved to provide food for the elephants
- Local communities need to be educated to have reduced stress levels in elephants during conflict mitigation, no fire, no firecracker and no mob crowds.
- There is a need for a monitoring mechanism which will record and disperse information on such conflicts
- Experts suggest the other way to reduce the man-animal conflict is to increase the population of wild ungulates, namely hares and the wild boars, both of which are prolific breeders, as a prey for wild carnivores. Separate big enclosures can be made in the jungles to breed them. The excess stock can be released in the jungles at regular intervals for the wild carnivores to prey upon.
- In order to be truly effective, prevention of human-wildlife conflict has to involve the full scope of society: international organizations, governments, NGOs, communities, consumers and individuals. Solutions are possible, but often they also need to have financial backing for their support and development.