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International Tiger Day: The need for Conservation and Protection of Big Cats

The International Tiger Day aims to promote awareness regarding Tiger conservation across the globe.

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Kalinga TV News Network

Bhubaneswar: The tiger is the largest of the world’s big cats and this magnificient creature, with its distinctive orange and black stripes and beautifully marked face, has a day that is dedicated to it. The ‘International Tiger Day’ was first celebrated in 2010 after an international summit revealed that 97% of all the wild tigers had disappeared in the last century. It was also revealed that there were only 3,000 tigers left in the world by then.

Tigers are on the brink of extinction and International Tiger Day aims to bring attention towards this fact in order to protect the big cats and save them from becoming extinct.

The decline in Tiger population can be attributed to a number of factors which include habitat loss, climate change, hunting, poaching, etc. This day therefore aims to preserve and protect tigers besides ensuring the expansion of their habitats and creating awareness regarding their protection. The day aims at promoting conservation of tigers and involves many global animal rights organisations like the WWF, the IFAW and the Smithsonian Institute.

Sudarshan Pattnaik’s sand art for Tiger Conservation

 

India, which holds a substantial number of tigers has launched many initiatives to save the rapidly declining tiger population. Project Tiger was launched in 1972 as a conservation programme to save the tigers.In 1970, a national ban on tiger hunting was imposed, and in 1972 the Wildlife Protection Act came into force. The framework was then set to formulate a project for tiger conservation with an ecological approach.Since inception, Project Tiger has become one of the most successful conservation ventures in modern history. Today, there are 27 Project Tiger wildlife reserves in India, covering an area of 37,761 sq.km.

Talking of Odisha, Similipal Tiger Reserve and Satkosia Tiger Reserve are the two major tiger reserves in the state. The population of tiger in the state has increased from 142 in 1972 to 192 in 2004. Though only 35% increase over 32-years, this is indeed is a commendable achievement for the state which boosts of a rich flora and fauna. The Elephant Reserve network in Odisha comes in aid of the objectives of Project Tiger as the former encompasses tiger habitat also. Two additional areas, Sunabeda and Baisipalli Sanctuaries, have come under the network of Tiger Reserves.

These Tiger Reserves are visualized as breeding nuclei from which surplus tiger would migrate to adjacent forests. Mayurbhanj District holds the major population of tiger within the state. Sustainable protection measures and management initiatives have resurrected the dwindling population of tigers. Recent census of tigers conducted by the use of both pugmark and camera trap techniques in the year 2016 shows presence of 29 tigers. Similipal is the only place in the world that houses the source population of melanistic tigers.

On the occasion of International Tiger Day, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik tweeted a video-


As far as figures are concerned, it can be said that we still have a long way to go when it comes to conservation and protection of Tigers. Odisha is much better placed compared to other states in realms of tiger conservation. However, this is not enough and a lot more needs to be done. This calls for multi-stake engagement fostered by the government, forest department and civil society. Its high time we realise the gravity of the situation. We all have a responsibility: a very crucial one- to ensure that the tigers of world are not wiped out from the surface of the earth.

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