India’s Tigers are Making a Comeback!
Our whole lives it seems we are told about the ever-decreasing numbers of endangered animals and how they will probably become extinct in our lifetime.
But (as always) we have good news!
Official figures from last week indicate that the population of tigers in India has boosted by almost a third in just three years.
India is home to around 70% of all the wild tigers in the world, most of which live in one of the country’s 50 wildlife reserves that have been created for the tigers since the 1970s.
Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the latest figures were proof that the current strategies to give the tiger population a boost were working.
Mr Javadekar is putting the success down to creating wildlife reserves for the tigers, which are monitored by specialist government staff.
“This is why we want to create more tiger reserves,” he explained. “This [tiger boost] is proof of India’s biodiversity and how we care for mitigating climate change. This is India’s step in the right direction, which the world will applaud.”
The rise in numbers over the past three years – from 1,706 (2011) to 2,226 (2014) – with further encourage campaigners to carry on fighting to protect the endangered species.
The problems lie in the fact that, even though there are reserves for the tigers, their habitat is still threatened by uncontrolled development and poaching.
According to Belinda Wright from the WPSI (Wildlife Protection Society of India), a better focus on tiger conservation over the last few years could be responsible for this little surge in numbers. This focus has led to, among other things, better patrolling and monitoring of the reserves.
“There still remains the habitat destruction and encroachment,” she pointed out. “Hopefully, the new figures will increase the pressure on the government to tread carefully when it is a matter of development in tiger habitats.”
Outside of reserves, tiger habitats are dwindling terribly, to almost the point of non-existence. The creatures thrive in areas with evergreen, thorn, or deciduous forest, grass jungles or mangrove swamps.
But even inside the zone designated for the big cats, food and space can become sparse tourism and other industries are left unchecked. Lots of tigers end up foraging in human-populated areas, which can lead to fatalities on both sides.
“We must ensure that animal-human conflict does not happen,” concludes Mr Javadekar. “We have proactively decided that we will create more grasslands and water storage in forest areas so that the animals can live well.”