Over 30% rise in India’s tiger population

By Shuriah Niazi

NEW DELHI, India (AA) – India’s wild tiger population has shown a record growth of 33%, raising hope for the survival of wildlife.

According to the census of wild cats, released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, the tiger population has increased from 2,226 in 2014 to 2,967 in 2019.

India has to meet the target of 4500 tigers by 2022, a commitment it had made at the World Tiger Summit in 2010.

“With almost 3000 tigers, India is today among the biggest and most secure habitats,” PM Modi said, while hailing officers and people, committed to protecting the tiger. He said the country has moved from once upon a tiger to tiger is alive.

According to data, the central province of Madhya Pradesh has 526 tigers, the highest number, closely followed by the southern province of Karnataka with 524 and the Himalayan province of Uttarakhand with 442 tigers.

The census officials tracked an area of 381,400 square kilometers (around 147 sq miles) of forest, to conduct survey. Over 15,000 cameras were installed at various strategic points to capture the movement of tigers.

Experts have also lauded the increase in tiger population, but they believe that more efforts were required to protect the habitat.

“The first and foremost work of forest department is conservation of forest and animals. Instead of promoting tourism, they should think about following the rules to save these animals. There is a need for high-level monitoring in India,” Ajay Dubey, a wildlife activist told Anadolu Agency.

The International Tiger Day is observed on July 29, following an agreement between 13 tiger-populated countries at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit held in Russia in 2010.

There are only 3,900 wild tigers left in the world, mostly in Asia, according to the latest data issued by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Studies claim that there were over 100,000 tigers roaming the planet, just a century ago.

The big cats in India and Bangladesh, known as Royal Bengal Tiger, mostly live in the Sundarbans — the world's largest mangrove ecosystem, spanning over more than 6,000 sq km (2,316 sq miles).

Bangladesh has shown a marginal increase of tigers from 106 in 2014 to 114 in 2019.

"In some areas, including much of Southeast Asia, tigers numbers are still declining,” the WWF said on its website.

"Across their range, tigers face unrelenting pressures from poaching, retaliatory killings, and habitat loss. They are forced to compete for space with dense and often growing human populations."

Another study published in May this year by a group of Bangladeshi and Australian animal scientists believed that there will be no suitable tiger habitat left in Bangladesh Sundarbans by 2070, due to climate change and the rise of sea level.