I have always admired the tiger, from far and in pictures of course, so for me today T is for Tiger. Did you know that some decades ago, the tiger came perilously close to becoming extinct in India? In 1972 when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi started Project Tiger there were only about 230 tigers left in India. A sad commentary of affairs because at the turn of the 20th century, India was estimated to have some 100,000 tigers. Large scale hunting of them as a sport by the British who then ruled India and by the Indian royalty brought down their numbers rapidly.
After Independence in 1947, more than hunting, poaching became the single largest cause for the death of the tigers. Villagers killed tigers to make money by selling the skin and body parts. Arpanjot Singh Chawla has this very informative article about the tiger in today’s India. I found the story quite fascinating.
According to the latest tiger census report released on March 28, 2011 by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the current tiger population estimated is 1,706 (i.e. ranging between a minimum of 1,571 to a maximum of 1,875.) Thankfully dues to the efforts of the Governments of India we find that the tiger population has now risen but this article in The Independent says inbreeding could also be a cause for restricting the growth of the tiger population in India today. The Wildlife Protection Society of India estimates that India is home to over half of the world’s tiger population.
To see what you are fighting to protect, do have a look at these images in LiveScience. Lastly, before I sign off, should you want to do your bit to protect the tiger, you can send in your donation to the Wildlife Society of India.