In a recent report, the Indian government has stated that the number of Tigers living on the sub-continent has risen by 20% over the past three years. The latest census was the first Tiger census to be conducted throughout the whole of India, as in 2007, some areas were still vastly inaccessible, and therefore areas such as the swampy Sundarbans simply could not be included in the count.|
Today however, better technologies make these challenges easier to overcome as 70 Tigers were recorded inhabiting the Sundarbans in the latest count. When the Tiger census was conducted in 2007, 1,411 Tigers were recorded, a figure which has risen to 1,706 today. Although this is obviously an incredibly positive step, there are great concerns about their constantly shrinking habitats as half of the world's Tigers are found in India.
Throughout India, Tiger corridors have been set up which link small pockets of their remaining natural habitats, that have been separated by human activity. Tigers are large, solitary carnivores so it is particularly important that they are not confined to such small home ranges as food becomes less ample, and it can be very difficult to find a mate, and therefore maintain these growing population numbers.
Tigers are elusive predators, relying heavily on the cover of the surrounding forest to prevent them from being spotted by their prey. They are predominantly found in dense forest and jungle, along with mangrove swamps and close to livestock. There are 39 designated Tiger reserves across India, with more than 45,000 square kilometres of natural forest connected by thin, tree lined corridors.
There were thought to be around 100,000 Tiger individuals found all over India at the beginning of the 20th century, a number which has dropped a whopping 97% to less than 3,500 Tigers today. The main reasons for their decline are the loss of habitat (94% of which has disappeared), and the threat from poachers who hunt the Tigers to sell into the Eastern medicine market, where their body parts are used in traditional medicines.
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