Every year 29th July is celebrated as Global Tiger Day to promote public awareness and garner support for tiger conservation works at the global and local level. The day was adopted in 2010 at the St. Petersburg Tiger Summit in Russia in response to the rapid decline of tiger population.
Tigers are an integral part of religious and socio-cultural heritage in Asia besides being at the top of the ecosystem and are truly the King of Forests. In spite of being such a significant creature, tigers are now restricted to only 13 countries from its previous range of whole of Asia. Tiger population in the wild declined from more than 100,000 at the dawn of the century to less than 3900 individuals today .
The good news is, for the first time in the history of tiger conservation, tiger numbers have increased from the initial estimate of 3200 to 3890 individuals across the range countries. The recent national tiger survey confirmed that Bhutan has 103 adult tigers with records of five breeding sources across the country. The increase in tiger population in Bhutan and elsewhere is the outcome of intensive effort put in by the government of all range countries and the conservation partners around the globe.
This year is a halfway point to the St. Petersburg declaration of doubling the tiger numbers by the year 2022. As tigers are classified as endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, our task remains incomplete until we stop the loss of tiger habitats and the poaching of tigers and its prey species for the illegal wildlife trade.
As one of the tiger range countries, Bhutan continues to play a very significant role in the long term survival of this majestic species. We are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the survival and persistence of this important majestic species. If we fail to shoulder this responsibility, it is equivalent to breaching the trust entrusted upon us by our future generations. We carry this immense responsibility of ensuring that this magnificent creature continues to survive, thrive and persist.
I congratulate the Department of Forests and Park Services and the conservation partners around the globe for their relentless efforts and outstanding achievements in ensuring the long term survival of this magnificent species in Bhutan and beyond.
-Minister for Agriculture and Forests and Chairman, Global Tiger Forum
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