Current Affairs

Tiger Conservation

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  • Published
    30th Jul, 2022
  • Context

    International Tiger Day is being celebrated on 29 July every year all around the world. This day is also celebrated as Awareness Day to prevent the destruction caused due to poaching. 

  • Background

    • The decision to recognise this day was taken in 2010 at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in Russia.
    • In 1973, Project Tiger was launched in India with a unique plan to save tigers on the planet.
    • Since its formative years, there were 9 tiger reserves but the Tiger Project coverage has increased significantly over time.
    • However, the tiger is still categorised as 'endangered'.
    • It has lost 93 percent of its range and tiger numbers have dipped from 100,000 a century ago.
  • Analysis

    What is the current status of tiger population in India?

    The species fact

    • Tigers (Panthera tigris) are the largest wild cats in the world.
    • Status: Endangered
    • Habitat: Tropical, subtropical and temperate regions
    • Range: Asia, including eastern Russia, northeastern China, India and Nepal
    • There were eight tiger subspecies at one time, but three became extinct during the 20th century.
    • The six remaining species of tigers include:
      • Bengal tiger
      • Amur tiger
      • South China tiger
      • Sumatran tiger
      • Indochinese tiger
      • Malayan tiger
    • According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, tiger numbers have declined by 95% over the past 150 years.
    • India is the land of royal tigers and the current tiger population stands at 2,967, which is 70 % of the global tiger population.
    • Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of tigers at 526, closely followed by Karnataka (524) and Uttarakhand (442).
    • Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh is the first tiger reserve in India to officially introduce a mascot, Bhoorsingh the Barasingha.
    • The states with the maximum Tiger population included:
      • Madhya Pradesh – 526
      • Karnataka – 524
      • Uttrakhand – 442
      • Maharashtra – 312
  • What are the major Tiger Bearing habitat and locations (in India)?

    Tiger-bearing habitats were divided into five major landscapes:

    • Shivalik Gangetic plains
    • Central India and the Eastern Ghats
    • The Western Ghats
    • North Eastern Hills and Brahmaputra Flood Plains
    • Sundarbans
  • What are the causes of declining population?

    • Poaching and habitat destruction are among the leading causes.
    • Shrinking forest space
    • Tigers have lost 93 per cent of their historical range due to human activity and development
    • Effects of climate loss
    • Genomic evidence shows Breeding has also reduced drastically among different tiger populations
  • Initiatives to protect and preserve tiger populations:

    • The M-STRIPES (Monitoring System for Tigers - Intensive Conservation and Ecological Status) mobile monitoring system for forest guards has been introduced by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
    • The 13 nations that have tigers agreed to do more for them at the Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010, and under the catchphrase "T X 2," they started an initiative to double the number of tigers living in the wild.
    • The Global Tiger Initiative (GTI) initiative of the World Bank has gathered international partners to further the tiger agenda by leveraging its presence and convening abilities.
    • The Global Tiger Project Council (GTIC), which includes two arms—the Global Tiger Forum and the Global Snow Leopard Ecosystem Conservation Programme—has formalised the initiative over time as a distinct organisation.
    • Project Tiger, which was started in 1973, has expanded to more than 50 reserves, or approximately 2.2% of the country's land area.

  • What measures are required to be taken?

    • Number to critical factors: Focus needs to be shifted from the number of the population to critical factors essential for their survival.
    • Reducing the state of isolation: Special attention is required for populations that are becoming isolated and facing the genetic consequences of such isolation.
    • Utilising the potential of technologies: Genome sequencing technology provides an opportunity to understand tigers much better in the context of their conservation, which needs to be utilised and included in the conservation strategy.
    • Coordination: There needs a dialogue between such data and management strategies in order to ensure their survival.

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