The tiger is a unique animal which plays a pivotal role in the health and diversity of an ecosystem
What WWF-India is doing to save the tiger?
At the turn of the 20th century, according to sources, India had an estimated 40,000 tigers in the wild. In 2002, based on pug mark census, this number was 3,642. As per the monitoring exercise by Wildlife Institute of India in association with National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Government of India using camera traps, in 2008 we were left with only 1,411 tigers. This number is so small that they will be gone soon if we don’t wake up to the crisis.
WWF-India aims for a strategic and focused approach in its tiger conservation efforts. Our goal is to restore, maintain and protect tigers as well as their habitat and prey base in important tiger landscapes in India.
The objectives are to:
* Protect, restore corridors to ensure connectivity between tiger habitats while ensuring that human-tiger conflicts are reduced.
* Reduce pressures on the tiger habitats by promoting alternative livelihoods for local communities in and around tiger habitats.
* Create incentives for local communities as well as state and regional government and opinion-makers to support tiger conservation.
* Enhance capacities of the Forest Department to control poaching of tigers and prey species.
* Provide policy inputs at state and central levels to ensure effective measures for conservation of tigers and their habitats.
* Promote the political will as well as popular support within all sectors of society for tiger conservation.
With one tiger we protect about a 100 sq. km of forest
With one tiger, we protect about a 100 sq. km of forest
What you can do to save the tiger?
The tiger is not just a charismatic species. It’s not just a wild animal living in some forest either. The tiger is a unique animal which plays a pivotal role in the health and diversity of an ecosystem. It is a top predator and is at the apex of the food chain and keeps the population of wild ungulates in check, thereby maintaining the balance between prey herbivores and the vegetation upon which they feed. Therefore the presence of tigers in the forest is an indicator of the well being of the ecosystem. The extinction of this top predator is an indication that its ecosystem is not sufficiently protected, and neither would it exist for long thereafter.
If the tigers go extinct, the entire system would collapse. For e.g. when the Dodos went extinct in Mauritius, one species of Acacia tree stopped regenerating completely. So when a species goes extinct, it leaves behind a scar, which affects the entire ecosystem. Another reason why we need to save the tiger is that our forests are water catchment areas.
When we protect one tiger, we protect about a 100 sq. km of area and thus save other species living in its habitat. Therefore, it’s not just about saving a beautiful animal. It is about making sure that we live a little longer as the forests are known to provide ecological services like clean air, water, pollination, temperature regulation etc. This way, our planet can still be home to our children.
Children at Lagga Bagga, Pilibhit
Without adequate and timely protection there is a real possibility of these children never seeing a tiger in the wild once they grow up
Spread the word: Go out loud and tell others that tigers are dying and that they need our help. You can form forums (or join existing ones) on the web for discussions and exchange views on tiger conservation. Reach school going children. WWF can help you in this regard.
Be a responsible tourist: The wilderness is to be experienced and not to be disturbed and polluted. Follow the forest department guidelines when visiting any wilderness area, tiger reserve in particular. As the saying goes ‘Don’t leave thing anything behind except foot steps, and don’t take anything except memories.’
Write to the policy makers: If you are really concerned and feel that more needs to be done for tiger conservation, then write polite letters to the decision makers - the Prime Minister, the Minister for Environment and Forests or even your local MP.
Informing the nearest police station: If you know of any information on poaching or trade of illegal wildlife. You can also contact TRAFFIC- an organisation fighting the powerful poachers and pass on the information to them.
Reducing pressure on natural resources: By reducing the use of products derived from forests, such as timber and paper.
Habitat and Distribution
Tigers are widely distributed from the alpine Himalayas to the rain forests of southern Western Ghats and from the dry forests of Rajasthan to the moist forests of north-east India.
The tiger is one of the largest and most awesome predators in the world. This species undoubtedly fascinates every eye it meets. The body length of the majestic male ranges from 275-290 cm and of the female around 260 cm. The size and colour vary according to the geographic location and climate. Tiger is solitary and territorial and the territory of an adult male may encompass territories of two to seven females. It is carnivorous and hunts for prey primarily by sight and sound. It feeds on deer, wild pig, bovid and sometimes even other predators like leopards and bears.
Habitat and prey loss
Large-scale habitat destruction and decimation of prey populations are the major long-term threats to the existence of the dwindling tiger population in the country.
Less than a hundred years ago, tigers prowled all across India and the sub-continent. But growing human populations, particularly since the 1940s, have contracted and fragmented the tiger's former range. Although extensive habitat is available in some landscapes, agriculture, clearing of forests for development - especially road networks, hydel projects are forcing tigers into small and scattered islands of remaining habitat. Tigers need large territories. And along with habitat, tigers have also suffered a severe loss of natural prey populations – in particular ungulates such as deer and antelopes.
Hunting, poaching and illegal trade
For over thousand years, tigers have been hunted as status symbol, decorative item such as wall and floor covering, as souvenirs and curios, and for use in traditional Asian medicines. Hunting for sport probably caused the greatest decline in tiger populations until the 1930s. In the early 1990s, trade in tiger bone for traditional Chinese medicines threatened to drive tigers to extinction in the wild. Poaching is the largest immediate threat to the remaining tiger population.
Conflict with humans
As tigers continue to lose their habitat and prey species, they are increasingly coming into conflict with humans as they attack domestic animals – and sometimes people. In retaliation, tigers are often killed by angry villagers.
WWF has been working for over four decades to conserve tigers. In 2002, WWF developed a new and far-reaching strategy in partnership with other conservationists and authorities. The cornerstone of the tiger conservation programme is a landscape-based approach. Seven priority landscapes have been identified where conservation will benefit the long-term survival of tigers in the wild. Within these key landscapes, WWF and its partners work to reduce or remove threats to tigers in the wild by restoring their habitat, maintaining connectivity, and securing a wilderness landscape, strengthening anti-poaching efforts, working with villages in critical tiger corridors, mitigating human-wildlife conflict by creating physical barriers (solar fencing, CPTs), providing interim relief schemes to curb retaliatory killing, providing alternatives to reduce pressure on forest resources, exploring and supporting alternative livelihood options, facilitating institutional strengthening of local communities and creating awareness among villagers and local populace for their protection.
The long-awaited India's Tiger Census, released yesterday by the government of India, shows the country more at risk of losing its national symbol to poaching and habitat loss, WWF-India said yesterday. WWF commended the Indian government for its scientific integrity, and for sharing with the world the harsh truth of the crisis facing the tiger.
The census, conducted in 2006/ 2007 estimates an Indian tiger population of between 1165 and 1657 tigers. But it can be safely assumed that the current estimation is more accurate than the ones undertaken earlier, which showed inflated tiger numbers than what actually existed on the ground.
WWF complimented the Indian government’s National Tiger Conservation Authority for its decision to undertake a scientific assessment of tiger population through an independent research agency, the Wildlife Institute of India which has resulted in producing the most reliable picture yet of the state of the Indian tiger. This is the most complete census ever undertaken of tigers in India, or indeed of wild tigers anywhere else in the world.
“These estimates are distressingly low, but at least we now have better habitat and population data than ever before and we can intervene more strategically and more effectively to help ensure that tiger populations recover, and that India can maintain its national symbol.” said Sujoy Banerjee, Director, Species Conservation, WWF-India.
"It is also amply clear that the tiger numbers are at the threshold, and if the numbers go down any further, then recovery may not be possible at all. The time has come for the government and all other institutions and agencies to show serious commitment to tiger conservation if at all we wish to see tiger in the wild in India in the future" he added.
Tigers are threatened by a combination of poaching, habitat loss from development, the loss of corridors between areas and retaliatory killing of tigers for preying on cattle or attacking humans. The existence of international markets for illegal tiger parts in spite of the fact that the countries where majority of illegal trade in wildlife takes place are signatories to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is indeed a matter of grave concern.
“However, we are glad that the areas where WWF is deeply involved in tiger conservation are among the areas identified as having the best prospects for tigers.”
In India, WWF is working in three landscapes with focus on tiger conservation which are encompassing the foothills of the Himalayas in neighbouring Nepal, the central part of India and the Sunderbans adjoining Bangladesh. The areas identified as having high probability of long term persistence by themselves such as Corbett, Kanha, and Sunderbans are located in the landscapes in which WWF has its activities.
WWF is working at the grassroots level in these landscapes by supporting the forest department for better protection of tigers, providing habitat management initiatives for better management of prey populations, curbing poaching by developing informer networks, building capacities of staff and equipping them to execute their duties more efficiently in the field, and reducing the human-tiger conflict to nullify chances of retaliatory killings of tiger or its prey. Above all, WWF is working very closely with local communities to reduce their pressures on the forest resources on one hand, while providing them with better livelihood opportunities to help them become “partners in conservation” .
“It is of great concern that some reserves appear to have lost their tigers, pointing to a clear need to upgrade and maintain the general level of protection offered in reserves, but apart from this, the matter of real concern is the tigers outside the Tiger Reserves, National Parks and Sanctuaries. If attention is not paid to their conservation we will lose them altogether” said Banerjee. “The continued threat from poaching and illegal trade in tiger parts must be met with enhanced enforcement efforts.”
WWF-India welcomed the government initiatives, also announced to increase financial assistance for tiger conservation, both within and outside protected areas. It also applauded this month’s establishment of the eight nation South Asia Wildlife Trade Initiative (SAWTI) as the beginning of an effective co-operation on organized criminal networks engaged in wildlife trafficking. WWF hopes that the newly formed Wildlife Crime Control Bureau will also start showing results which will of immense value for tiger conservation in India.
Large, dynamic and steadily expanding, the Indian economy is characterized by a huge workforce operating in many new sectors of opportunity.
The economy of India is as diverse as it is large, with a number of major sectors including manufacturing industries, agriculture, textiles and handicrafts, and services. Agriculture is a major component ofthe Indian economy, as over 66% of the Indian population earns its livelihood from this area.
However, the service sector is greatly expanding and has started to assume an increasingly important role. The fact that the Indian speaking population in India is growing by the day means that India has become a hub of outsourcing activities for some of the major economies of the world including the United Kingdom and the United States. Outsourcing to India has been primarily in the areas of technical support and customer services.
In general, the Indian economy is controlled by the government, and there remains a great disparity between the rich and the poor. Ranked by the exchange rate of the United States Dollar, the Indian economy is the twelfth largest in the world.
In Purchasing Power Parity GDP, the figure for India was 1.5 trillion US Dollars in 2008. The per capita income of India is 4,542 US Dollars in the context of Purchasing Power Parity. This is primarily due to the 1.1 billion population of India, the second largest in the world after China. In nominal terms, the figure comes down to 1,089 US Dollars, based on 2007 figures. According to the World Bank, India is classed as a low-incomeeconomy.
Recent trends have seen India exporting the services of a numerous information technology (IT) professionals. IT professionals have been sought for their expertise in software, software engineering and other financial services. This has been possible as a result of the high skill levels of Indian IT professionals.
Other areas where India is expected to make progress include manufacturing, construction of ships, pharmaceuticals, aviation, biotechnology, tourism, nanotechnology, retailing and telecommunications. Growth rates in these sectors are expected to increase dramatically.
Over the years the Indian government has taken an economic approach that has been influenced, in part, by the Socialist movements. The Indian national government has maintained a high and authoritative level of control over certain areas of the Indian economy like the participation of the private sector, foreign direct investment, and foreign trade.
It may be observed that in spite of the tremendous debate about the justification of the privatization of industries traditionally owned by the government, the process of privatization has still continued at a steady pace.
One of the major challenges before the Indian economy, or those who are responsible for operating it, is to remove the economic inequalities that are still persistent in India after its independence in 1947. Poverty is still one of the major issues although these levels have dropped significantly in recent years. As per official surveys, it has been observed that in the 2004, almost 27% of the working Indian populace was living below the poverty line.
Poverty is a challenge that’s becoming increasingly important in relationship to the alarming rate of new births. This implies that ever more rapid change, or birth control policies like the ‘One Child’ policy in China, are needed to reduce the numbers affected by poverty in the vast Indianeconomy.
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READ believes that a Community Library and Resource Center is an economically efficient way to impact large numbers of rural residents—men and women, boys and girls, from very young to very old. With it’s current 49 Centers, it serves over 540,000 people annually.
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READ refers to its Centers as Community Library and Resource Centers because not only do they offer a wide selection of books and literacy training, they offer so much more:
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Recent terrorist activities have shaken the people across the world. Several large and small Indian cities have been targeted. But the recent serial bomb blasts in Delhi raise the question, how safe is India?
Delhi blasts: List of injured admitted in AIIMS
AFTER JAIPUR, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Surat, now Delhi, India’s capital, has witnessed the trauma of serial blasts. The five blasts, which went off at the most important spots of the city, have shaken all Indians. In recent times, serial blasts have become commonplace in the country. However, nothing has been done so far to bring terrorism under control. People are dying in large numbers in these blasts. After every blast it is suspected that the nasty act was carried out by the Students Islamic Movement of India and many other such terrorist outfits.
But the vital question that arises is what is being done to stop such terrorist activities. If we look at it minutely, then except condemning the act, nothing else is being done to stop this. Even after three months and a half of Jaipur blasts, the main culprit has not yet been traced. So is the case with the other blasts also.
Along with the administration, the people need to be alert and do something to save the motherland. And the important thing to be noted is that the blast always occurs in large cities. One after the other, all the large cities are being shaken by serial blasts. God knows how many more such blasts India and its citizens will witness. Strong action should be taken in this regard so that peace can be restored. Let’s hope for the best and pray together for the victims of these blasts
Saving the tiger means saving mankind..
Not only is tiger a beautiful animal but it is also the indicator of the forest's health. Saving the tiger means we save the forest since tiger cannot live in places where trees have vanished and in turn secure food and water for all.
If we make sure tigers live, we have to make sure that deer, antelope and all other animals that the tiger eats (its prey base) live. To make sure that these herbivores live, we must make sure that all the trees, grass and other plants that these prey animals need for food are protected. In this way, the whole forest gets saved! Saving the tiger means saving its entire forest kingdom with all the other animals in it.
Also forests catch and help store rainwater and protect soils. In this way we protect our rivers and recharge groundwater sources. Areas with less trees lead to floods, killing people and destroying homes. It takes away the precious soil, leaving behind a wasteland. The soil jams up our lakes and dams, reducing their ability to store water. By destroying the tiger's home, we not only harm tigers, but also ourselves.
The tiger thus becomes the symbol for the protection of all species on our earth since it is at the top of the foodchain. This is why we sometimes call the tiger, an apex predator, an indicator of our ecosystem's health
The tigers in India are at the all time risk of becoming extinct as in past few years there have been a drastic decrease in the number of wild tigers in india. At the start of the century there were 40,000 tigers in the indian forests. Now there are 1411 left and this number may be less than this. We have already lost 3 species of tigers out of 9. Another specie in china is also speculated to be extinct as there have been no sighting in past few years. Two tiger reserves called Sariska and Panna have lost the entire population of tigers due to