Striped challenges

  • POSTED ON: 27 Jul, 2018
  • TOTAL VIEWS: 635 Views
  • POSTED BY: Madhumitha Srinivasan
  • ARTICLE POINTS: 150 Points

As of 2016, there were 3,890 tigers in the world. The world rejoiced at the news as it was the first time in a century that tiger numbers had risen. India — home to 70% of tigers in the world — had more good news to share. As recently as last month, a tiger was spotted in the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve in the Western Ghats, after eight years. The tiger population in the Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar tripled from 10 to 31 within 10 years.

The feats may seem small, but their significance is far greater. This is because, in the 1900s, when over 1,00,000 tigers roamed the earth, 97% of their population vanished due to poaching, loss of habitat, and climate change.

With so much to celebrate, it is fitting that we have a day dedicated to these apex predators, to do that and more. Every year, since 2010, July 29 is observed as Global Tiger Day.

It was during the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit, in 2010, that it was decided to dedicate a day to promoting tiger conservation and efforts to protecting them and their habitats. At the Summit, the panel also declared their goal of doubling wild tiger population by 2022 — the next Chinese Year of the Tiger.

Why save tigers?

The tiger is the biggest species of the cat family. Its subspecies include the Royal Bengal tiger, Sumatran tiger, Siberian tiger, South China tiger, Malayan tiger and the Indochinese tiger.

Besides the fact that they look majestic, and that it would be a shame to see them only in the confines of a zoo or museum, tigers play an important part in the ecosystem.

The tiger is an apex predator, which means, it is at the top of the food chain. It preys on large herbivore mammals like deer, pig and cattle, preventing overgrazing of the vegetation, which in turn keeps the climatic conditions in check.

Thus, the presence of tigers in a habitat is an indicator of a healthy ecosystem. For example, the Gunung Leuser National Park, in Sumatra, stores over 1.6 billion tons of carbon and provides water to four million people. Local communities rely on its resources for their livelihoods. All these make it imperative to save the wild population of the Sumatran tigers that make up this ecosystem.

Action time

According to WWF India, here are a few things that you can do to ensure that tigers are not a thing of memories or folklore: (Click on the titles to read more)

Photos: Flickr, Wikimedia Commons


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