International Tiger Day and India’s Role in the Survival of Tigers

July 29 marks International Tiger Day and India plays an extremely important role in saving these beautiful animals… but first, let us have a look at the facts.
There have been rumblings in the media and among animal activist circles that tigers all over the world face extinction. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that already three subspecies are gone: the Bali tiger, the Caspian tiger and the Javan tiger. More worrying is the fact that in 2010, Myanmar had a wild tiger population of 85, but now it is not even listed among countries that have tigers in the wild.

Aww…! Photo Credit: Kevin Case

Altogether, there are eleven countries in the world that have wild tigers roaming freely, but numbers aren’t all that convincing: Russia has 433; Indonesia has 371; the tiger population in Malaysia is 250, while Nepal’s is 198. Thailand has 189 tigers, Bangladesh has 106 and Bhutan 103 – then, we step out of the three-figured statistics and it all goes downhill. China has seven tigers, Vietnam has five, and Bhutan has only two. Pretty alarming statistics, right?
Helping Them Survive is Key. Photo Credit: Ozzy Delaney
Helping Them Survive is Key. Photo Credit: Ozzy Delaney

Experts, however, say that the key lies in India. With the largest living population of wild roaming big cats (2,226 of them) it is said that tigers can most successfully survive there. It is only fitting that India should be the “chosen country” to help tigers survive, because the country’s national animal is in fact the Royal Bengal tiger. Other surviving subspecies include Siberian-, Bengal-, Indochinese-, Malayan – and Sumatran tigers.
Wildlife scientist Dr. Yadvendradev Jhala told News18 that the survival of tigers may very well lie in India: “We have the largest global population of tigers, close to about 60 per cent of wild tigers survive in India. The people’s attitude towards conservation is far better in India than anywhere else in the world. We are very tolerant people. The tiger is an icon of our culture, our religion; and it’s the biodiversity umbrella for the conservation of our forest. The government has done a lot to protect it, has declared tiger reserves.”
In fact, you can check these reserves out before/after/while completing the Rickshaw Challenge; there are many sanctuaries scattered across the country. Some of the most beautiful tiger reserves in India include the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve located in Madhya Prades, park that has a rich historic and cultural background, too. With 10th century shrines and hermit caves, amazing temple and a strong, healthy tiger population, this reserve is a must-see for nature lovers. Another equally mesmerizing place is the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra, which is open all-year round. You can witness leopards and sloths too here, and there are breath-taking lakes and open waterholes. So, next time you’re in the country, be sure to drop by any of these reserves – you can even volunteer at some of them! Happy Tiger Day!

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