International Tiger Day is celebrated on July 29 to raise awareness about the conservation of the wild cat, which over the last 150 years has witnessed a massive drop of nearly 95% in its population. However, with several countries taking measures to curb poaching, illegal wildlife trade, human-wildlife conflict, and habitat loss, etc, the tiger population has shown some growth. Not just that, cutting of trees also contributes significantly to habitat loss, thereby leading to the reduction in the number of tigers.
History of International Tiger Day:
On July 29, 2010, a number of countries became signatories to an agreement at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in Russia. The countries pledged to raise awareness about the dramatic fall in the number of tigers and the steps required to preserve the species from going extinct. Not just that, various tiger-populated countries also vowed that they would try to double the population of the animal by 2022.
Theme of International Tiger Day, 2021
The theme for the 2021 International Tiger Day is “Their survival is in our hands”. Last year, the day was observed online due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, but there was no lack of enthusiasm. People across the world understood the significance of the day and contributed to celebrations in their own ways. Interestingly, India accounts for nearly 70% of the world's total tiger population and has already achieved the target of doubling its numbers.
Significance of International Tiger Day:
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the current population of the wild cat is 3,900. As mentioned earlier, by next year, WWF, along with the countries with tiger populations, aims to double their numbers to 6,000. The day is all the more important, for there was a time when tigers were spotted roaming across most of the African continent. However, poaching, illegal wildlife trade and habitat loss caused their population and range to shrink to just about 7%.
India is home to 51 tiger reserves located across 18 states. The tiger census of 2018, showed an increase in the population of India's national animal.