Guwahati: India has successfully managed to bump up the population of tigers in 2018 by over one-third as compared to 2014. This rejoicing news came to light on the occasion of International Tiger Day with Prime Minister Narendra Modi releasing the results of the 4th cycle of the ‘All India Tiger Estimation Report 2018’ at his Lok Kalyan Marg residence in New Delhi on Monday.
While India’s big cat population has gone up to 2,967 in 2018 from 2,226 in 2014, Assam too is doing its bit for making the state more habitable for the wild beast. The Northeastern state is now home to 190 tigers, almost 13% more as compared to 2014, when it had 167 tigers.
In his address, PM Modi lauded the continuous conservation efforts and awareness campaigns about the rapid decline tigers. He said India has emerged as one of the biggest and safest habitats for tigers in the world.
“Nine long years ago, it was decided in St Petersburg that target of doubling tiger population would be 2022. We in India completed this target four years in advance. This is the finest example of Sankalp Se Siddhi [attainment through resolve],” said the Prime Minister.
As per Project Tiger, Madhya Pradesh has the highest population of tigers at 526, followed by Karnataka at 524 and Uttarakhand at 422. Apart from that, it also stated that Chhatisgarh and Mizoram saw a decline in their tiger numbers while the number of tigers remained constant in Odisha.
The history of Indian tigers has always been quite eventful. It started from being heavily hunted in the colonial era, to being revived from literal extinction in 1973 through Indira Gandhi’s Project Tiger. Tiger population also faced another serious threat through poaching in the 1990s as well. Moreover, the decrease of habitats and the rise of illegal hunting of the big cat for their body parts such as bones, skin and teeth have only added to threaten its existence.
India is also home to 70% of the global tiger Panthera tigris population and the recent reports suggesting the rise of the population of tigers as a whole is the sign of a healthy ecosystem. Tiger being the apex predator in the food chain keeps the population of herbivores in check which in turn maintains the entire vegetation cover.
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