Tigers are royal and majestic animals, and many cultures consider tigers to be a symbol of strength, courage and dignity. Tigers are scientifically known as Panthera Thigris, and are one of the global species that are nearing extinction.
Global Tiger Day or International Tiger Day is an annual celebration to raise awareness for tiger conservation and preservation of their natural habitats.
The continuous cutting of forest land for human needs has led to a massive displacement and extinction of wildlife. From the beginning of the 20th century, around 95 per cent of the tiger population has been lost in various activities.
The theme for this international day is - 'Their Survival is in our hands.'
International Tiger Day is the anniversary of the agreement of Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in Russia in 2010 which was signed by countries to raise awareness about the decreasing tiger population globally. It was declared by representatives that the tiger populated countries would make efforts to double the tiger population by the year 2022.
Global Tiger Day is important in promoting a global system for protecting the natural habitats of tigers, to create public awareness and support for tiger conservation issues. This day is significant because, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), currently, there are only 3890 wild tigers globally. There is a lot of effort needed to protect this species if we are to secure its future in the wild.
The Bengal Tiger was declared as the national animal of India in April 1973, with the initiation of Project Tiger, to protect tigers in India.
India is the land of royal tigers and current tiger population stands at 2967 which is 70 per cent of the global tiger population, residing in various forests of Tiger reserve, National Parks and Wildlife parks.
Photo: B. Navaneethan, Bandhavgarh TR
Top 10 tiger reserves to visit in India:
1. Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve, Uttarakhand
Corbett Tiger Park is the oldest national park in India, and was the first proposal under the Project Tiger initiative. It covers an enormous core area of 500 square km, and was established in 1936. It has the highest number of tigers in India.
Address: Nainital District, Ramnagar, Uttarakhand 244715
2. Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan
Ranthambore Tiger Reserve is part of Ranthambore National Park and is one of the largest tiger reserves in India. It is a former royal hunting ground of the royal Jaipur Maharajas and home to tigers, leopards and marsh crocodiles. It is particularly known as the abode of Bengal tigers.
Address: Near the town of Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan, northern India
3. Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh
Part of the Bandhavgarh National Park, it is spread across a distance of 820 sq. km and the national park is home to the ancient Bandhavgarh Fort. This park is known for having the highest population of royal Bengal tigers in India.
Address: Renj Mohala, Dhamokhar, Madhya Pradesh 484661
4. Kaziranga Tiger Reserve, Assam
Kaziranga National Park is listed in the World Heritage Site of India and was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2006 due to its high density of tigers in protected areas.
Address: Kanchanjuri, Assam 784177
5. Sunderbans Tiger Reserve, West Bengal
The Sundarban National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site inscribed in 1987. Sunderbans is famous for its men eating tigers and swamp tigers with a characteristic of swimming in the saline waters and walking on mudflats.
Address: Kolkata, West Bengal 743370
6. Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra
The Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is the oldest wildlife sanctuary and largest reserve in Maharashtra. It is one of the best examples of Tiger tourism in India.
Address: Chandrapur district, Maharashtra state
7. Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, Karnataka
Nagarhole National Park, also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park, is a wildlife reserve in Karnataka. It was declared a Tiger reserve in 1999, and the thirty seventh Project Tiger. It is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
Address: Mysore - Madikeri Road, Hunsur, Karnataka 571201
8. Rajaji Tiger Reserve, Uttarakhand
Rajaji National Park was declared a Tiger Reserve recently. It has been named after C. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji), a prominent leader of the Freedom Struggle. There are two ongoing government prestigious wildlife conservation projects - The Project Elephant and The Project Tiger.
Address: Foothills of the Shivalik Range of Himalayas
9. Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Karnataka
Bandipur National Park was established in 1974 as a tiger reserve under Project Tiger in Karnataka, which is the state with the second highest tiger population in India. It protects several species of India's endangered wildlife.
Address: Chamarajanagar district, Karnataka
10. Kanha Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh
Kanha Tiger Reserve, also known as Kanha–Kisli National Park is the largest national park of Madhya Pradesh state. The park has a significant population of royal Bengal tiger along with other endangered species. It is also the first tiger reserve in India to officially introduce a mascot, Bhoorsingh the Barasingha.
Address: Near Mandla, Madhya Pradesh
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