“The tiger is an apex predator, the largest of the cat species although endangered; and this magnificent creature with its distinctive stripes and beautiful yellow-orange fur has a special day dedicated to it.”
Global Tiger’s day, often referred to as International Tiger’s Day is celebrated on the 29th day of the month of July every year. This annual celebration aims to raise awareness amongst all the people worldwide regarding tiger conservation. The issue of tiger conservation was brought up through a Tiger Summit which took place in St. Petersburg, Russia in the year 2010. This Summit was held around 21-24 November,2010; whereby some 500 representatives and various delegates of the 13 Tiger Range States came up; and it was here that this special day dedicated to the tigers was found. From then onwards, we recognize 29 July as the Global Tiger’s Day. One other important decision taken up at the Tiger Summit was to create Tx2- the global goal to double the number of wild tigers by the year 2022.
But can we all just spare some time to wonder what all led to this. What hardships did the tigers face that instead of blooming in the ecosystem, they have been endangered? The fact is really horrifying that in the last century, 97% of the tiger’s population enigmatically disappeared and we are now left with just 3000-3500 of them. Tigers are facing a number of threats which in turn is driving them towards extinction. Poaching and illegal trade of tigers is still prevalent in many parts of the world. Tiger bones, teeth, fur and other body parts are of medicinal importance due to which illegal trade and trafficking has flourished. Even, the tiger skin is used for home decor purposes. This simply indicates that we as humans have failed humanity. It’s quite ignominious that rather than preserving these incredible, aphasic animals; we’re killing them ruthlessly and embellishing our homes! Apart from this, there are many other threats the tigers are prone to. Habitat loss is one among them. With the ever-rising population, the number of forests has rapidly decreased. Clearance of forests for several purposes like setting up industries, human settlements, agriculture, etc. has also directly contributed to the decline of forest areas. Excessive human interference into the ecosystem, has also deprived the tigers from their natural, disturbance free living place. Moreover, it has adversely affected the climate and such climatic changes have led to wiping out of numerous species of tigers from their local habitats. Various diseases are also the key factor. Many tigers die because of diseases which remain unnoticed and there’s no way to ascertain their cause of death. Many recent studies have also shown that due to the afore mentioned issues, few habitats of tigers have even lost their genetic diversity. We are lacking to provide them with proper protected infrastructure and shelter where they can breed.
But, before it’s too late, we need to take measures to control this continued decline in tiger population. It’s the need of the hour to conserve these glorious creatures rather than putting them towards the verge of extinction. And with this motive, we have our Global Tiger’s Day. The day focuses to promote a worldwide system whereby everyone is dedicated to protecting tigers and their natural habitats. In addition, the International Tiger Forum which was established back in 1994, also has its goals very rationale to tiger preservation. Taking the media attention as an indicator, it aims to mobilize world public opinion in the favor of tigers. Tigers are not just a part of our planet’s natural heritage; they are the most iconic animals with great cultural and historical significance as well. No doubt they are crucial for our ecosystem; they also maintain the ecological integrity of forests. Tigers bring high level of protection and investment in an area, which means that if we look forward to its conservation, we are not just saving this single species but many others are also conserved. Henceforth, the tigers are often referred as “umbrella species.”
There is a famous citation “Where tigers thrive, it is a sign that the ecosystem is healthy.” Thus, each one of us can do our bit to ensure that our ecosystem remains healthy. The nations must acknowledge to manage, preserve and protect the natural habitats of tigers and even work for its enhancement. The regional law enforcement should be strengthened so that no illegal trade can loom over in any area. All steps that ought to be taken for eradication of poaching, smuggling etc. with the help of international organizations should be initiated as soon as possible. Exploring domestic funding and including new financing mechanisms keeping in mind the goal of tiger conservation can also be of great help. Most importantly, many people are unaware of the threats and hazards faced by the tigers and this rapid decline in their population. So forth, spreading knowledge and awareness among the community via any medium, be it videos, infographics or interesting piece of contents would definitely help in making the future of tigers on this planet safe and let them prosper.
So, Protect and Conserve Tigers!
By Shailja Rani, Bihar