The tiger is India’s National Animal and holds many mythological connotations. However, because of its exotic nature and habitat, its tiger population had suffered over the years.
Some of the main reasons were habitat loss and poaching. This drop in population escalated to the point that in 2006, there were just 1411 tigers left in the wild. Since many of its subspecies like the Caspian Tiger, Balinese Tiger, and Javanese Tiger had already become extinct, it was time that the government focused on tiger conversation in India or risked losing its national pride forever.
Welcome Optimism brings you the story of ‘Save the Tigers Initiative’ and how it revolutionized tiger conservation in India.
1. Tiger population in the early 1900s
It is estimated that the tiger population in the early 1900s was around 1 Lac. However, during that time, there were efforts of tiger conservation in India. On the contrary, they were hunted down as a sign of power, both by Britishers and the Indian royalty.
These practices considerably lowered the tiger population in the coming decades.
2. The 1970s saw a massive drop in the population
Even in the 1950s, the tiger population in India was considered to be around 40,000. But the lack of a plan for tiger conservation in India brought down numbers to as low as 1800 in the wild.
At this point, it had become clear that if efforts are not made, Indian tigers too will face the same fate as the already extinct subspecies.
3. By 2006, only 1411 tigers remained
Tiger conservation in India faced a new low when only 1411 tigers remained in the wild. Over 90% of their habitat stood displaced. This is the time when the Indian government started focusing on tiger conservation and awareness.
In 2010, 13 nations met in St. Petersburg, Russia, to resolve that they were going to double their tiger population by 2022.
4. India achieved its target by 2018
The success of tiger conservation in India became evident when the national animal census in 2018 was recorded at 2967. This made our country home to almost 75% of the world’s tiger population, with only 25% of the total tiger habitat.
Here are some of the other stats that show the success of the initiative in the country:
- In 2019, India invested Rs. 350 crores in tiger conservation efforts.
- In 1973, India had only nine tiger reserves – currently, it has 50 in 18 different states.
- The All-India Tiger Estimation holds the world record for the world’s largest camera trap wildlife survey with almost 27,000 camera traps that took over 76,000 pictures of tigers.
We hope that our government welcomes more Optimism for tiger conservation in India. We can protect our national animals in the years to come and share our land with them. This 29th July, let’s celebrate International Tiger Day with this pledge and create more awareness.
If you are a wildlife enthusiast, share your experiences in the comments section below with the community.