India has been a front runner in steps to protect the tigers and prevent extinction of this endangered species. However, the effort seems to be going in vain as just about a 1400 tigers are now left in the wild.
India has 38 tiger reserves which are monitored by the Govt. Almost 17 of these reserves are said to be in a very precarious situation. Only 12 of the 38 are in good condition and the remaining 8 have given satisfactory results.
Illegal poaching and demand for tiger products, especially in countries like China, have led to the steep decline in tiger numbers. The tiger parts trade is supposedly a $20 billion business and the huge money involved in it forces the poor villagers to help the poachers in this business. Govt rehabilitation programs for these villagers haven’ really worked yet, as most of them continue to be poor and deprived of basic necessities. Govt now needs to seriously look into helping these villages around the Tiger reserves so that, in return, they can help in tiger conservation.
Just about a century ago, India boasted of 40000 tigers. Subsequent steps by Govt and other organizations to preserve and grow the population has come to naught, as the numbers have rapidly dwindled. At last count in 2008, the tiger population was mere 1411.
The plight of the White Tigers is even worse. White tigers are mainly from Asia, and now just 200 white tigers are left alive world over. In India just about 12 white tigers have been spotted in the wild over the past 100 years.
If things continue as they are, tigers will be an extinct species in the next 20 years. We’d just be let with old footage on Discovery Channel or museums showing old tiger carcasses.
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