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The tiger is India’s national animal. It is also an endangered animal with India having the most number of tigers. While the animal continues to remain endangered, their numbers are slowly increasing. However the darkest time for the big cat was in 2006 when the reported tiger population in India was only 1,411. But just when it seemed like the species might disappear from the Indian subcontinent, conscious efforts from NGOs and the government helped bring up the numbers. By 2011, the number of tigers slowly increased to 1706. This number further went up to 2,226 in 2014 and is estimated at 2500 as of 2016 according to a statement by the Environment Minister. Based on data from the World Wildlife Fund and the Global Tiger Forum (GTF), the tiger population of the world is estimated at 3890 as of earlier this year. Also Read - MP Police Detains Digvijaya Singh, Uses Water Canons to Disperse Congress Workers Protesting Against Farm Laws | Watch
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India is home to 49 tiger reserves which are run by the Project Tiger which is the Indian government’s conservation programme launched in 1973. Tiger reserves like Bandipur, Jim Corbett, the Tadoba-Andhari project and Pench are frequented by wildlife lovers. Karnataka has the largest number of tigers in the country (408) while the Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam reserve is the largest in terms of area (3,568 sq km). When it comes to the largest density of tigers in protected areas, Kaziranga National Park in Assam leads the list with 106 tigers.
Earlier, the number of tigers was misleading as the methods used were medieval such as tracing pug marks. However, with modern methods like camera traps which capture the unique prints on tiger skin and DNA analysis, the new numbers are far more reliable and accurate. While the status of the tiger remains ‘endangered’, it is good to see that from Central India to the Himalayan foothills and the Western Ghats, tigers are slowly growing in number.
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