PRIME Minister Narendra Modi releasing the latest tiger census data, marking the 50 years of ‘Project Tiger’ in Mysuru brings back the focus on tigers’ population in India. Tigers in India have a history of their own, often serving as the poster animal for saving our forests. From being constantly hunted during the colonial era, to being brought back from the brink of obliteration in early ‘70s, and from threats through poaching in ‘90s to establishing the National Tiger Conservation Authority, tiger numbers in India have shown a steady growth. With Indian tigers accounting for more than 50 per cent of the world tiger population, restructuring the growing tiger population in a proper manner assumes greater importance. Gratifyingly enough, there are a bunch of passionate wildlife enthusiasts, who are trying their best to make the planet more habitable for the tigers. Less consumption of forest material, less interference in forest areas, and healthy preservation of our wildlife ecology are of vital importance in protecting our forests and the wildlife they accommodate.
Though issues like poaching are being strongly dealt with, the modern Indian tiger faces the other biggest threat of the human-animal conflict. But with coexistence being the only way forward, one immediate solution to the conflict is perhaps compensating locals who have been moved or faced loss of life. Also, as a short-term measure these locals can be provided with jobs by integrating them in the fully-fledged industry, which is tiger tourism. We must be reminded of the benefits of forest and wildlife cover which cannot be measured monetarily. When tigers thrive in an ecosystem, it indicates that their ecosystem too is thriving along.
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