The tiger is one of the best-loved animals in the world. However, its habitat is strictly restricted to the subcontinent and India which accounts for 75 percent of the world tiger population. Tigers were at one time in abundance in the jungles of India, but during the days of the Raj their numbers started dwindling, and they were becoming rare. If this had continued, there was every likelihood of the animal becoming extinct. This necessitated the launch of "operation tiger" to conserve the species.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stated that the Wildlife conclave at St.Petersburg had tasked India to try and increase the population of tigers by 30 percent, but India was able to achieve the target four years earlier.

India Today has reported that the UN chief Antonio Guterres has complimented the Indian effort.

Tiger census

The census of tigers commenced in 2014 and was completed in 2018.

The results have now been correlated, and it has been seen that the tiger population has gone from 2226 to 2967. This means a 30 percent increase in the tiger population. Tigers are found in almost 20 Indian states of India with the Bengal tiger taking pride of place as the most ferocious of the lot

The census was carried out by a dedicated team from the Wildlife Institute using the latest technology to count the tigers. The exact number of tigers was counted, and it was ensured that there was no duplication of the animal count.

Care was also taken to ensure that tigers in Bangladesh and Nepal were not counted in this census as they border India and are home to tigers. Downtoearth.org has mentioned that this tiger census could find a place in the Guinness Book of Records.

Future

Despite the increase in the population of tigers, the future is still difficult to predict. The Guardian hs reported that recently a group of villagers beat a tiger to death in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. The tiger had strayed from the Jim Corbett National Park and had attacked some villagers.

The tiger is part of Indian folklore, and there are many tales about the tiger in Hindu mythology. The goddess Durga is supposed to be riding on a tiger. Unfortunately during the days of the Raj, discriminate killing of tigers by maharajas and the British resulted in dwindling of the tiger population. If this state of affairs had continued, the tiger would have become extinct. Similarly, the Great Asiatic lion has almost become extinct and is now confined only to the Gir forest sanctuary in Gujarat

The tiger is in a better position as it is spread all over the country.

Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister who last year at G20 summit had demanded a favourable deal, is a wildlife enthusiast and he has joined Bear Grylls the famous adventure and wildlife photographer in a program sponsored by Discovery channel on wildlife in India. This program will be beamed all over the world to 180 countries on 12th August this year. The trailer of the program is available on YouTube, and it is great to see the Indian prime Minister moving about in the Jim Corbett National Park.

Last word

A tiger population of 3000 is by itself a small number and calls for greater conservation efforts. The tiger population needs to be raised to 20000. The tiger is the pride of India, and it's a matter of honor that 75 percent of the population of the beast is in India. One hopes that this effort will be sustained and the villagers will be advised on the benefit of conserving the tiger.

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