Tiger's Roar as Their Population in India Grows by 33%
The tiger is second only to the King of Beasts, the lion in popularity and folklore all over the world. The tiger, however, has a place of its own and is the most important animal in the sub-continent. Hindu mythology has many tales about the tiger and there was a time when the tiger population ran in hundreds and thousands.
The sub-continent is home to the largest population of tigers on the globe. India alone is home to 75% of the global tiger population. Over the centuries particularly in the 19th and early 20th-century indiscriminate hunting led to the tiger almost becoming extinct. The tiger population declined dramatically because of poaching and sport. During the days of the Raj, the Maharajahs organized innumerable tiger hunts to please the British.
An example is Jim Corbett who was one of the avid tiger hunters. He has written many books about his exploits in killing tigers. However, he mostly killed man-eaters, though early in his life he was not averse to killing any tiger. His book " The Man-Eater of Rudraprayag" is famous but in later life, he turned a conservationist. The Jim Corbett National Park is named after him.
The tiger population declined sharply and there was a fear that the magnificent animal may become extinct. The United Nations and conservationists all over the world were concerned and "Project Tiger" was launched to save the species. This has borne fruit and the population of tigers in India has increased from 2,226 in 2014 to 2,967 in 2018. This marks a 33% increase according to the latest tiger census report. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been taking a personal interest in the project to save tigers has released the figures of the tiger population. The Times of India has reported that Modi in a statement has said that "Nine years ago it was decided in St. Petersburg that the target of doubling tiger population will be 2022. We completed this target four years early."
The Wildlife Institute of India had launched a four-phase survey covering 593,882 man-days and covered 381,400 km of forested habitats in 20 tigers occupied states. Camera traps were deployed at 26,838 locations and these resulted in 76,651 pictures of tigers being taken. The 2018 census has been the most technologically intensive wildlife enumeration exercise and also made use of extensive Android phone applications called M-STrIPES. This software was introduced in 2010 by the National Tiger Conservation Authority to collect verifiable data and analysis. Special care was taken not to duplicate the tiger counting on the borders with Nepal and Bangladesh which also have tiger reserves.
Result of the survey
The result of the survey has brought out that the state of Madhya Pradesh accounted for the maximum number of tigers — 526 — followed by Karnataka (524) and Uttarakhand (442). However, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram saw a decline in striped cat numbers, while tiger numbers in Odisha remained constant. The Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest number of tigers.
Modi and Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel and Modi
The Indian PM Narendra Modi has taken a personal interest in the conservation of wildlife and tigers. He has teamed up with British TV adventurer Bear Grylls, the star of survival show Man vs. Wild on the Discovery Channel. Grylls knowing the interest Narendra Modi invited the Indian leader to join him in the Jim Corbett National Park for a documentary on wildlife conservation. The Indian PM joined him and actively participated in the filming of the documentary. This program has been filmed and will be aired on the discovery channel on 12, August and will be beamed to 180 countries worldwide.
However, all is not rosy and The Guardian has reported that last week Indian police arrested four people in Uttar Pradesh after a group of villagers beat a tiger to death. The tiger had attacked people after straying out of the Pilibhit tiger reserve.
The trailer of the program is available on youtube. Wildlife experts from all over the world including the USA are in India and have complimented the National Tiger Conservation Authority for a job well done but more is required.