Tigers are making a massive comeback in India — up 33% in four years
Tiger reserves and a concentrated public effort has brought this animal roaring back to India.
- India's tiger population has grown to nearly 3,000, making it, by far, the country with the largest wild population.
- Their wild population increased over 33 percent in just four years.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made it his goal to increase tiger conservationist efforts.
India now has nearly 3,000 tigers living in the wild. Due to concentrated conservation efforts and stricter wildlife policies, India's tiger population soared 33 percent between 2014 and 2018. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who recently presented the latest tiger census, said that the population has risen from 2,226 in 2014 to 2,967 in 2018.
The worldwide tiger population has been in a steep decline. With an estimated global population of 4,000 — India is home to around 70 percent of the world's tigers.
Mr. Modi remarked that India is "now one of the biggest and most secure habitats of the tiger."
Nearly a decade ago, India had embarked on a nationwide goal to double its Bengal tiger population by 2022. They've now reached that goal four years ahead of schedule. In order to protect their gains and expand their tiger population, they'll have to keep enforcing their wildlife policies while also ensuring the safety of their new sanctuaries.
India’s tiger reserves
Wildlife Institute of India National Tiger Conservation Authority
In the past 10 years, India has created nearly two dozen new reserves. Aside from creating space for tigers to live and prosper, these protective areas also create new spaces for wildlife and forests to flourish.
Tens of thousands of Indian officials and scientists track and count these tigers once every four years. They utilize a mixture of camera traps and video recognition software that creates a three-dimensional representation of each individual tiger. They usually have to cover a landmass of about 193,000 square miles.
The conservation efforts come in the wake of a devastating loss that occurred over the span of the past century. It's estimated that between 1875 and 1925, 80,000 tigers were killed in just India alone. Sports hunting and official governmental sponsored killing sprees by kings and officials of the era sanctioned and encouraged this mass slaughter.
Eventually, the Indian government came to its senses and in 1972 enacted a law that essentially made it illegal to kill or capture any kind of protected wild animal. With continued awareness and strict enforcement, the hunting died down. With the help of global conservationists, India invested more money into the protection and growth of their reserves.
In certain parts of India, there is still strife between local villages and tigers. More will have to be done to educate the populace in these areas and strengthen the reserves.
Tiger conservation threats
Some estimates suggest that the tigers are only breeding and living in 10 percent of the total habitat set aside for them. The tigers are underutilizing their space, which often makes them wander outside of these areas and come into conflict with villagers nearby.
Another report, titled "Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of Tiger Reserves 2018," showed that at least half of India's reserves are facing encroachment threats from infrastructure like roads and rail lines.
Conservationists fear that the isolated conflicts that usually occurs on the edge of the reserves, will increase as protected areas grow. Tiger reserves are still threatened by illegal poachers, pollution, unchecked industrialism and climate change.
Modi believes that India's tiger habitats should be expanded:
"There is a very old debate — development or environment. . . and, both sides present views as if each is mutually exclusive."
He understands that there needs to be a balance struck between proper economic development and the protection of the environment.
"In our policies, in our economics, we have to change the conversation about conservation. India will build more roads and India will have cleaner rivers. India will have better train connectivity and also greater tree coverage. India will build more homes for our citizens and at the same time create quality habitats for animals. India will have a vibrant marine economy and healthier marine ecology. This balance is what will contribute to a strong and inclusive India."
This may just be the beginning of a tiger resurgence, if this type of thought prevails over India's tiger conservationist efforts.
- Ross Kauffman - Tigers and the humans who love them - Big Think ›
- You're probably seeing the same backyard animals every day - Big Think ›
Young people could even end up less anxiety-ridden, thanks to newfound confidence
- The coronavirus pandemic may have a silver lining: It shows how insanely resourceful kids really are.
- Let Grow, a non-profit promoting independence as a critical part of childhood, ran an "Independence Challenge" essay contest for kids. Here are a few of the amazing essays that came in.
- Download Let Grow's free Independence Kit with ideas for kids.
Philosophers like to present their works as if everything before it was wrong. Sometimes, they even say they have ended the need for more philosophy. So, what happens when somebody realizes they were mistaken?
Sometimes philosophers are wrong and admitting that you could be wrong is a big part of being a real philosopher. While most philosophers make minor adjustments to their arguments to correct for mistakes, others make large shifts in their thinking. Here, we have four philosophers who went back on what they said earlier in often radical ways.
Or is doubt a self-fulfilling prophecy?
The future of learning will be different, and now is the time to lay the groundwork.
- The coronavirus pandemic has left many at an interesting crossroads in terms of mapping out the future of their respective fields and industries. For schools, that may mean a total shift not only in how educators teach, but what they teach.
- One important strategy moving forward, thought leader Caroline Hill says, is to push back against the idea that getting ahead is more important than getting along. "The opportunity that education has in this moment to really push students and think about what is the right way to live, how do we do it and how do we do it in a way that doesn't hurt or rob the dignity of other people?"
- Hill also argues that now is the time for bigger swings and for removing the barriers that limit education. The online space is boundary free and provides educators with new opportunities to connect with students around the world.