The world celebrates International Tiger Day to raise awareness for tiger conservation. Also known as Global Tiger Day that is held each year on July 29, the aim is to promote global conscientiousness for protecting the tiger’s natural habitats and to make the public aware of the need to support conservation issues for tigers. Nagpur famous as the gateway to Tigerland has a special responsibility in such conservation efforts.
Pench National Park, close to Nagpur gets its name from Pench River flowing through the Park. The Park is accessible from Village Pauni on National Highway 7, the closest point from Nagpur. Pench actually has two well known entry points – Turiya and Karmajhiri. The area of the present tiger reserve has a glorious history. Its description of natural wealth and richness can be traced to Ain-i-Akbari where it is recounted in all its glory. It is also the original setting of Rudyard Kipling’s most famous work – The Jungle Book.
The tiger is the main cat species of the park and is said to be present in good numbers but sighted infrequently. The tiger count census tells us there are 25 tigers around this region along with 39 species of mammals, 13 species of reptiles, 3 species of amphibians, apart from the park’s rich bird life. We are also told that India holds over half the world’s tiger population. According to the latest tiger census report by National Tiger Conservation Authority, the current tiger population estimated is 1,706. The results include figures from 17 Indian states with a tiger population.
In the wake of Project Tiger, initiated by the government of Smt Indira Gandhi, who was herself an avid naturalist and keen environmentalist, the most effective way to implement tiger conservation appears to be through NGO participation. Nagpur itself has number of dedicated organizations working effectively with locals for hands-on tiger conservation. They keep the issue alive on national and international levels and persistently seek political will to secure the tiger’s future. The Indian conservation community is a force to reckon with but we need all the strength of purpose to keep it intact. Because as we all well know by now – if the tiger survives so do we!!!