When: 29 July, 2016
What: International Tiger Day
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International Tiger Day is held annually on July 29 to give worldwide attention to the reservation of tigers. It is both an awareness day as a celebration. It was founded at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010. This was done because at that moment wild tigers were too close to extinction. Many animal welfare organisations pledged to help these wonderful creatures and are still helping to raise funds to reach this goal. The goal of Tiger Day is to promote the protection and expansion of the wild tigers habitats and to gain support through awareness for tiger conservation.
The world seems to have brought back the tiger, as a species, from the brink of extinction, thanks to efforts like International Tiger Day. This year, International Tiger Day 2016 comes in the wake of a 22% increase in tiger population across the world, according to a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Global Tiger Forum report published earlier this year. The WWF has said the global tiger population, which was around 1 lakh about a century ago, had declined to historic lows, with several species of tigers being wiped out entirely. However, that trend is now reversing, thanks to efforts like International Tiger Day, which is held annually on July 29 to give worldwide attention to the reservation of tigers.
According to figures available on the official website for International Tiger Day, the largest tiger population in the world is in India, which has 1,706 of the 3,948 tigers across the globe, primarily in Asia. The increase in number of tigers has happened as causes behind their near extinction, like loss of habitat, poaching and man-animal conflict have been addressed.
Time is short. Right now, the number of wild tiger is at its lowest ever!
- We have lost 97% of all wild tigers in a bit over 100 years.
- Instead of 100,000, as few as 3000 live in the wild today, last year it was 3200!
- A number of Tiger species have already been extinct.
- Tigers may be one of the most admired animals, but they are also vulnerable to extinction.
At this rate, all tigers living in the wild could be extinct in 5 years!
How did this happen?
Tigers lost 93% of their natural habitat due to the expansion of cities and agriculture by humans. Fewer tigers can survive in small, scattered islands of habitat, which lead to a higher risk of inbreeding. These small islands of habitat also make tigers more vulnerable to poaching
Human wildlife conflict
People and tigers are competing for space. The conflict threatens the world’s remaining wild tigers and poses a major problem for communities living in or near tiger forests. As forests shrink and prey gets scarce, tigers are forced to hunt domestic livestock, which many local communities depend on for their livelihood. In retaliation, tigers are killed or captured. “Conflict” tigers are known to end up for sale in black markets. Local community dependence on forests for fuel-wood, food and timber also heightens the risk of tiger attacks.
One of the world’s largest tiger populations is found in the Sundarbans—a large mangrove forest area shared by India and Bangladesh on the northern coast of the Indian Ocean. This area harbors Bengal tigers and protects coastal regions from storm surges and wind damage. However, rising sea levels that were caused by climate change threaten to wipe out these forests and the last remaining habitat of this tiger population. According to a WWF study, without mitigation efforts, projected sea level rise—nearly a foot by 2070—could destroy nearly the entire Sundarbans tiger habitat.