International Tiger Day (July 29): International Tiger Day is observed on July 29 every year to raise awareness about the status of wild cats. The celebrations on this day intend to encourage all to take appropriate action to save the rapidly declining population of tigers.
In 2010, it was discovered that almost 97 per cent of tigers had disappeared in the past century. Hence, taking cognizance of the seriousness of the issues, International Tiger Day was launched.
Due to the tigers being on the verge of extinction, a number of countries came together and signed an agreement at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in Russia to prevent the situation from worsening.
International Tiger Day Importance
The International Tiger Day looks to protect and expand tiger habitats apart from preserving them. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), The current wild cat population is 3,900. India is home to nearly 70 per cent of the world’s tiger population.
International Tiger Day Theme
Last year, the International Tiger Day theme was ‘Their survival is in our hands’. Meanwhile, this year’s International Tiger Day theme is not yet announced.
According to the World Wildlife Fund’s website, efforts are being made to double the number of wild tigers to over 6,000 by 2022– the Lunar Year of the Tiger.
Why Tigers are important
The WWF website says that as top predators and ‘umbrella species’ tigers help to keep their environment healthy.
“It’s the way things naturally work in the wild – the predators prey on other animals, in this case herbivores (plant eaters) such as deer. But without enough tigers to eat them, herbivores can overgraze and damage the land, disrupting the balance of the local environment,” the WWF adds.
Tigers and Climate Change – Impact
Climate change poses a growing threat to us all – tigers included.
Rising sea levels are threatening critical tiger habitat, warming temperatures affect distribution of tree species which can impact tiger prey species, and there is an increased danger to tigers and tiger habitat of extreme weather events, like flooding or forest fires.
In addition, habitat changes due to climate change can bring tigers closer to human communities, leading to increased conflict and suffering for both humans and tigers.