Tiger is a majestic animal that plays a pivotal role in the diversity of an ecosystem as well as the food cycle. It is an apex predator that sits at the top of the food chain.
Tigers contribute in balancing the population of herbivores and the vegetation in the globe.
According to World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the tiger population in the world has declined by more than 95% over the last 150 years. The drop in the population is mainly due to deforestation which leads to habitat loss. Other than that, hunting and illegal trading of tiger body parts are also prime factors.
Tigers are one of the species that is nearing extinction, as harsh as it may sound. In a bid to spread awareness on its conservation, July 29 is celebrated as International Tiger Day every year.
The day is significant because on this day several countries signed the agreement in the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in Russia in 2010. The countries pledged to raise awareness about the decline in tiger population globally and also shared steps required to preserve the species from going extinct.
Various countries also pledged to double the tiger population by the end of the year 2022.
This year's theme for International Tiger Day is – "Their survival is in our hands". Last year, the day was observed online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, there was no lack of enthusiasm.
India is home to 51 tiger reserves located across 18 states. The country accounts for nearly 70 % of the total population and has already achieved the target of doubling its numbers, ahead of the 2022 target.
Tiger is also India's National animal.
According to WWF, the total population of tigers is just 3,900. By next year, it aims to double their numbers to 6,000.
It is noteworthy that the tiger census of 2018 showed an increase in the population of tigers.
On the occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended greetings to wildlife enthusiasts in a series of tweets. He emphasized on the "commitment to ensuring safe habitats for our tigers and nurturing tiger-friendly eco-systems.
"On #InternationalTigerDay, greetings to wildlife lovers, especially those who are passionate about tiger conservation. Home to over 70% of the tiger population globally, we reiterate our commitment to ensuring safe habitats for our tigers and nurturing tiger-friendly eco-systems," he tweeted.
"India is home to 51 tiger reserves spread across 18 states. The last tiger census of 2018 showed a rise in the tiger population. India achieved the target of doubling of tiger population 4 years ahead of schedule of the St. Petersburg Declaration on tiger Conservation," he wrote on another tweet.