International Tiger Day also known as Global Tiger Day is celebrated on July 29 with an aim of increasing awareness towards the conservation of tigers worldwide. This day was first started and celebrated in 2010 at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit and was conceptualized when experts realized that tigers were very close to extinction. Many animal welfare organizations came forward to pledge the protection of these beautiful creatures by helping to raise funds.
The goal of observance of the day is to promote the protection and expansion of the wild tigers habitats and to gain support through awareness for tiger conservation. Many international organisations are involved in the celebration of this day, including the World Wide Fund for Nature, the International Fund for Animal Welfare etc.
Background Why Is World Tiger Day Celebrated!
1. The International Tiger Day was founded in 2010 at the St. Petersburg Tiger Summit. The summit had issued St. Petersburg Declaration on Tiger Conservation with an aim to double the big cat population by 2022.
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2. The tiger is the largest of the world’s big cats with its distinctive orange and black stripes and beautifully marked face.
3. It is has been founded that in the last century 97% of all wild tigers had disappeared, with only around 3,000 left alive.
4. Tigers are on the brink of extinction. Many factors have caused their numbers to fall, including habitat loss, hunting and poaching, climate change.
Want To Spot Tigers In India? 8 Best Places To Spot Tigers In India
1. Ranthambore National Park
The spectacular Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan is spread over 1334 sq km, bordered by rocky ridges. The park is famous for the wildlife sanctuary by the same name where one can see the union of wildlife, history and nature. It is one of the best tiger reserves in India and is a favorite with wildlife photographers due its picturesque surroundings. Safari rides are available twice every day – at 06:30 and 14:30. Each ride lasts for about 3 hours.
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2. Bandhavgarh National Park
The Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh is known for its thriving flora and fauna. Considered the original home of white tigers, the park is also a habitat for Indian bison, sambars, langurs and cheetahs. It is known to be one of India’s most beautiful parks. Along with other attractions like 10th-century shrines within tropical forests, steep rocky hills and valleys, the main draw is the healthy tiger population.
3. Jim Corbett National Park
Touted as one of its kind, the Jim Corbett reserve in Uttarakhand was established in 1936 and has the distinction of being India’s first national park. The reserve inspired the India-wide Project Tiger programme started in 1973 for conservation of wild tigers and saw the creation of 22 other reserves. It offers an intriguing sight of tigers and is also home to wild elephants (200 to 300 live in the reserve), sloth bears, langurs, rhesus macaques, peacocks, schools of otters.
4. Pench National Park
Another park in Madhya Pradesh to spot tigers, this one is less popular than the other two yet you can spot tigers here every few days. Fewer tourists make it for an unusual experience than the other national parks. When here, stay in a tent for an authentic experience. You can also take their tiger tour package that begins in Delhi.
5. Tadoba National Park
Often referred as ‘Jewel of Vidharba’, the Tadoba national park spread over 116.55 sq km is Maharashtra’s oldest national park. This park lies in the Chandrapur district of Maharashtra. The park was declared a Project Tiger reserve in 199 and is one of the best tiger reserves of India as tiger population has increased rapidly. Tadoba National Park and Andhari wildlife sanctuary together form the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR). Apart from tigers, you can also spot leopards, gaur, wild dogs, sloth bears, jungle cats, hyenas, sambar, cheetal, nilgai and barking deer.
6. Periyar Tiger Reserve
Kerala’s, Periyar Tiger Reserve is home to this animal and is also an elephant reserve. The jungle walks amidst the greenery makes for a blissful experience and some white tigers can also be spotted here. Apart from this, you can also spot reptiles, insects and birds here and the beautiful mountains make for a stunning backdrop.
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7. Sundarbans Tiger Reserve
Sundarbans National Park in the southern part of West Bengal is known for its abundant wildlife and Sundari trees. The main attractions here are the Royal Bengal Tigers that have adapted themselves to surviving in the Sundarbans and developed the ability to swim in the saline waters. It is the natural habitat of many other wild animals like jungle fowl, giant lizards, spotted deer, wild boar, crocodiles, etc. Sundarbans is also home to endangered species like Batagur baska, King Crabs and Olive Ridley Turtles.
8. Satpura National Park
This is perhaps one of the lesser known and underrated national parks in this list however Satpura National Park is home to tigers and a park where you can even go for guided walking tours instead of a jeep safari. There is a luxury stay near the national park and you can visit the Sonbhadra River where tigers come to swim in the summer.