As the world marked International Tiger Day on July 29, wildlife photographers stress need for the tiger count to go up
Hyderabad: If you are on social media, you must have noticed some of your contacts post pictures of tigers.
Rightfully so — July 29 is celebrated as Global Tiger Day or the International Tiger Day, and the theme for this year is “Their survival is in our hands”.
The Tiger Day, which was held online last year due to Covid, was first celebrated in 2010 at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in Russia with the goal to promote a global system for protecting the natural habitats of tigers and to raise public awareness and support for tiger conservation issues.
In the world, there could be fewer than 4,000 tigers, of which 1,411 are in India, which has 51 tiger reserves across 18 States. The country, which saw its tiger count touch 2,967 in 2019, is a habitat of about 70% of the tigers in the world. Coming to Telangana, the State has 14 big cats going by the recent census.
For census, cubs and sub-adults below three years are not counted as their mortality is high.
Tiger is a top predator and aids in keeping the population of wild ungulates (hoofed) in check. “Though the tiger population has more than doubled in the last 15 years to touch 3,000, there is more to be done in saving tigers. The population of the national animal of India has been affected by factors like illegal wildlife trade, poaching, man-animal conflict, habitat loss and fragmentation,” said Jitender Govindani, a wildlife photographer from the city.
“Tiger is at the top of the food chain. The day we lose our tigers, we will lose our forest and 300 rivers that originate in the forests. Saving the tiger is saving the ecosystem,” he said. Govindani worked extensively documenting the majestic animal in multiple tiger reserves. To sight a tiger, one needs immense patience and persistence. Many a time, it takes days together to get a glimpse of the tiger in the jungle,” he said.
“Protecting the natural habitat is the most important factor for wild animals to survive. The ecosystem is fragile and it needs all the attention. A thriving forest ecosystem will support a large number of flora and fauna,” said Sriram Reddy, another wildlife photographer who got lucky with tiger sightings at Tippeshwar and Tadoba.
“Tiger sighting is all about luck. I was fortunate to sight in my first Safari to Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra),” said Munna Mandalappu, another wildlife photographer.
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