The number of tigers are dwindling each year. According to the guesstimates of experts, in 1913, the world had 100,000 tigers. Hundred years later, i.e in 2013, the number came down to an alarmingly 3,274.
International Tiger Day
Realizing that tigers were soon becoming extinct, the International Tiger’s Day was instituted in the year 2010 at the Saint Petersburg Tiger summit with the goal of raising awareness on protecting tigers and their habitats.
Many programs, including seminars are held in this regard, across the world.
Need to protect Tiger and its habitat
Role of Tigers
The tigers play an important role in the health and diversity of the ecosystem by keeping in the numbers of wild ungulates in check, maintaining the ratio of the herbivorus and the vegetation that they feed on.
The Famous Poem
Tigers have been popular across the world and they have even found place in poetic imaginations. There is a famous poem on tiger by William Blake, ‘The Tyger’.
Image: Courtesy Wikipedia
India’s National Animal
Tiger is the national animal of India. Tigers have been admired in this land since many centuries for its royal grace and majesty. This royal animal is also worshipped as the vahana of Divinity Durga.
Goddess Durga on a tiger
Lord Ayyappa is also depicted as riding a tiger.
Lord Ayyappa riding a tiger
In India, tiger is called by many names such as Bagh, Puli, Venghai, Dvipin, Guhasaya, Panchanakha, Hinsaru and Shardula among others.
Names of Tigers and their meaning
|Dvipin||Dvip meaning Island, Dvipin-One with spots like island|
|guhasaya||Guha meaning hidden, cave, Guhasaya-One who stays hidden in caves|
|Panchanakha||Pancha meaning five, Nakha, claws, Panchanakha – Five clawed|
|Hinsaru||Hinsa meaning violence, Himsaru-Violent animal|
|Shardula||Shardula meaning swordlike|
Tigers in India
India is a home to more than two thirds of world’s tigers with 8 native species.
The royal Bengal tiger is found all over the country. Some of the rare species like white tigers can be found in the Girnar forest, Gujarat. Tigers of Sundarbans are the largest.
The Royal Bengal Tigers
The Sundarbans Tiger
A rare species of tiger “sumatran tiger” at Nehru Zoological Park, Hydrabad
In Popular stories
Tigers came into popular stories like Jungle Book and Jataka tales.
Tiger in Jungle book
A Jataka Tale Story
Tigers being killed
Tiger always symbolized India’s wild life prosperity. Unfortunately tigers were being killed everyday for sport and also for their teeth, fur and body parts for commercial purposes. The habitats of tigers have also being taken over and destroyed in the name of development.
Poaching still prevalent
A tiger rescued by forest officials from poachers at Madhya Pradesh Tiger Reserve
Save Tigers = Save all
The saving of tigers also means saving of deers and other animals that tigers eat.
But in order to save these animals we need to save the trees, the plants and the grass these animals feed on. In other words, we need to to save the forests.
Thus saving tigers includes saving the entire forest environment, all flora and fauna, as tigers rests right on top of the food chain.
Tiger Food Web
Urgent need to save tigers
If urgent steps are not taken to save tigers now, then they may well become extinct in the coming years. This will affect the whole food chain, as also humans. Man should desist from interfering with tigers and their habitat as only this will augur well for his own survival in the coming years.