There are mixed reports as to the exact number of Bengal Tigers left in the wild today? Their habitat loss caused by deforestation and hunting by human poachers has reduced the population substantially. Despite being the most common of all the tiger species, this majestic beast was considered an endangered species in a report by AZ Animals, where at the beginning of the decade these tigers only tallied 2000 in the wild. Recently, however, Global Citizen provides a more encouraging snapshot.
Sushmita Roy writes for Global Citizen in July 2019: "The temperature is not the only thing rising in India, its population of Bengal tigers — its national animal — has also been on the rise." And the local population is reveling in the marked rebound of its tiger population, following a good number of years focused on conservation efforts aiding this endangered species.
Trophy hunting and poaching, which were widely practiced during the colonial period of the 19th and 20th century were largely responsible for the disappearance of a large proportion of the global tiger population.
However, with proactive conservation measures, a report released by the Indian government in 2018 stated there are now an estimated 2,967 Bengal tigers in India, up from 2,226 in 2014 — a feat that Prime Minister Narendra Modi proclaimed a “historic achievement.”
“Once the people of India decide to do something, there is no force that can prevent them from getting the desired results,” Modi said at a news conference on July 29, 2019.
The census on the tiger population is released every four years and is based on data collected by wildlife officials across 380,000 square kilometers of land — an area bigger than the whole state of Texas. The 2018 census used 26,000 camera traps in known tiger habitats to obtain 350,000 images that helped track the population accurately.
While these numbers are encouraging, if we step back a little to obtain the wider view, there is still a lot more work that needs to be done to save the remaining tigers on the planet.
In 1900, more than 100,000 tigers existed in the world, but by 2010 the numbers had fallen to a record low of 3,200. Of all the tiger species remaining, the Bengal tigers are the most numerous subspecies.
This sad decline in tigers prompted India and 12 other countries to take additional methods. In 2019, they signed a joint conservation agreement to redouble their push to protect the species, with a goal of doubling the tiger population by 2022.
Tigers are one of the earth's natural treasures, and it's recumbent on all governments to legislate conservation laws that can be enforced.
In the final words of the prescient tome, "Tigers Forever: Saving the World's Most Endangered Big Cat," stated, "The time to act is now. Once the last tigers disappear, no longer gliding on velvet paws through the jungle, we cannot bring them back."
Primary Source: Global Citizen