The International Tiger Day is celebrated annually on 29 July to spread awareness about the need to protect tigers which are an endangered species. Tigers have lost 90% of their natural habitat and their world population is less than 4,000. The realisation that the wild tiger population has dropped by more than 95% since the beginning of the 20th century, led to the creation of International Tiger Day.
- The day was marked for the first time in November 2010 at the 'Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit' in Russia, which aimed to promote a global system for protecting the natural habitats of the big cats and to raise public awareness and support for tiger conservation issues around the world.
- Thirteen tiger-range countries participated in the Summit, namely: India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Summit host Russia.
- The Summit decided on the goal to increase the population of wild tigers to over 6,000 by 2022 –the next Chinese year of the tiger.
India's Tiger success story
- As per ‘Status of Tigers, Co-predators & Prey in India’ report released by Union forest and environment minister Prakash Javadekar on the eve of International Tiger Day, total big cat population in India stands at 2,967 as compared to 1,400 in 2014. As per estimates, India is home to 75% of the world tiger population.
- India's Project Tiger was launched in 1973 with just 9 tiger reserves. Today, India has 50 reserves having 2,967 tigers.
- With 231 tigers, Jim Corbett national park in Uttarakhand is the largest habitat of the big cats in India. Corbett’s tiger count has been rising — from 137 in 2006 to 174 in 2010 and 215 in 2014.
- Corbett is followed by Nagarhole (127) and Bandipur (126), both in Karnataka; Bandhavgarh in Madhya Pradesh and Kaziranga in Assam (104 each). Among states, Madhya Pradesh topped the tiger estimation, with 526 (it had 308 last time), going past Karnataka (524 this time, 406 earlier).
- Corbett is the only reserve with more than 200 tigers and with the highest tiger density in India at 14. The count in Dudhwa Tiger Reserve has also gone up from 58 to 82. Pilibhit reserve’s population is also up by two to 57.
- Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary which used to be a non-tiger zone in Uttar Pradesh, now has one tiger. However, Mizoram’s Dampa reserve and Bengal’s Buxa lost the six tigers they had between them.