(TMU) — India’s population of wild tigers is quickly rising after the government put its efforts behind strong conservationist policies defending the country’s wildlife.
A new census from the Indian government shows that the country’s tiger population has grown by about 33 percent since 2014. At present, the country’s wild Bengal tiger population stands at 2,967—mainly due to a ban on hunting and strict implementation of protections.
The South Asian country can now be proud of its role as one of the largest and most stable habitats for tigers worldwide, according to the Status of Tigers in India – 2018 report by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
Proof of the tigers’ healthy numbers are apparent in a photo by an Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer that has gone viral.
In the photo snapped by IFS official Siddharth Singh and shared by his colleague Parveen Kaswan, a tigress can be seen walking through a path in the northern Indian region of Terai alongside her five cubs.
Along with the image shared on Twitter, Kaswan wrote:
”This is a magical picture. Count the #cubs with #tigress. I know for a reason how few people will be elated after seeing this. Efforts are helping in making this species bounce back from the verge of extinction. PC Siddharth Singh. Magical Terai.”
The Terai region of the Uttarakhand state’s Western Circle forests have registered the highest growth in tigers, with the large cat’s numbers growing from 79 in 2014 to at least 119 adults in 2018, reports India Times.
In response to the photo, a fellow forest manager wrote:
“Terai is one of the most ecological productive ecosystems of the globe. It bounces back very soon in case given due to protection and slightly intervened with habitat inputs. Results have been extremely encouraging in Katerniaghat, Pilibhit and Dudhwa as I could see.”
In 1973, the Bengal tiger was declared the national animal of India. That same year, the country’s government under then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi initiated Project Tiger, a tiger conservation program that sought to preserve the tiger’s natural habitats, fight back against threats to the creature, and protect the country’s biodiversity.
The government has also established Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) around big cat habitats as well as the world’s largest animal underpass, according to Nature. In 2019, the country invested 3.5 billion rupees ($49.4 million) toward conservation efforts.
However, some critics warn that tigers’ forest corridors continue to face a grave threat from continued infrastructure development in rural zones, posing a potentially fatal threat to the tiger population.
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