- July 29th is celebrated as Global/ international tiger day every-year. It is celebrated to signify the conservation of tigers and their importance in biodiversity.
- It has been celebrated since its declaration at St. Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010.
- It is a top carnivore animal. It is listed as endangered species by IUCN.
- Tigers are found mainly in the forests of tropical Asia, although they historically occurred more widely in drier and colder climes. But some species are also found in cold regions (Siberian Tigers of Russia) as well as marshy lands (Bengal tigers in Sundarbans).
Species of Tigers
- IUCN has recognized two tiger subspecies, commonly referred to as the continental tiger and the Sunda island tiger. All remaining island tigers are found only in Sumatra, with tigers in Java and Bali now extinct. These are popularly known as Sumatran tigers.
- The continental tigers currently include the Bengal, Malayan, Indochinese and Amur (Siberian) tiger populations, while the Caspian tiger is extinct in the wild. The South China tiger is believed to be functionally extinct.
St. Petersberg Tiger Summit
- It was the first global summit to protect tigers from extinction. It was hosted in the month of November in 2010.
- 13 tiger range Countries (countries in which tigers are found) participated in this event, namely India, Laos, China, Vietnam, Russia, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Thailand and Malaysia called for joint action and promised to double the population of tigers by 2022 (Global Tiger Recovery Program).
Why Tigers are important for India?
- Being top predators tigers play an important role in conservation of the environment. It checks the population of grass-eating mammals, which in the absence of predators can cause severe deforestation and water crisis in the forest.
- India today is home to 70 per cent of the world’s tiger population with 2967 tigers in the wild.
- Madhya Pradesh hosts most of the tigers as a state while Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand houses the most number of tigers in any protected area.
- India started Project Tiger in 1973 with 9 Tiger reserves in the country and today we have 50 tiger reserves in the country.
Why in the news?
- As the population of tigers peak in the country scientists and environmentalists are worrying about the sustainability of Tiger Reserves.
- In a recent survey it was found that ⅓ of the tigers live outside the tiger reserves. (the areas outside the reserves where tigers are found are called SINKS and the reserve is called SOURCE).
- Out of 50 tiger reserves in India, nearly 17 are approaching the peak of their capacity at sustaining tiger populations.
- Experts are proposing the government to use under-utilised reserves so that management is better when we have a source-sink relationship.