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The tiger population in India has doubled in the last 12 years, it has been confirmed.
However, despite the increase, the World Wildlife Foundation has said that the big cats are still considered an endangered species.
According to the All India Tiger Estimation Report, the population of tigers has more than doubled between 2006 and 2018, from 1,411 to 2,967.
Back in 1973, India launched Project Tiger with aims to double the tiger population by 2022. At the time, there were just nine tiger reserves, but now, the numbers have incredibly jumped to 50, over an area of 72,749 square km.
Madhya Pradesh has the largest number of tigers, totalling 526. Meanwhile Karnataka has 524 and Uttarakhand 442.
Environment Minister, Prakash Javadekar said: "In 1973, there were just nine tiger reserves which have now increased to 50. It is important to know that none of these reserves are of poor quality. Either they are good or the best.
"Despite India's constraint of 2.5% of global land, 4% of rainfall and 16% of world's human population, India is home to 8% of world's biodiversity, which includes 70% of the world's tiger population."
The Environment Minister has also said India is now ready to work with other countries to manage their tiger reserves and help build their capacity.
There are currently 12 tiger range countries. These include China, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Bhutan, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Nepal, Malaysia, Russia and Myanmar.
Meanwhile, President Kovind wrote on Twitter, "On #InternationalTigerDay, the world lauds India's momentous success in doubling tiger population in 12 years.
On #InternationalTigerDay, the world lauds India's momentous success in doubling tiger population in 12 years. I compliment National Tiger Conservation Authority, Wildlife Institute of India, State Forest Depts, forest officers & all stakeholders for this feat #IndiasTigerSuccess- President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) July 29, 2020
"I compliment National Tiger Conservation Authority, Wildlife Institute of India, State Forest Depts, forest officers & all stakeholders for this feat #IndiasTigerSuccess."
It's not just India that has had success with its tiger population - neighbouring Nepal has also seen an increase, up from 121 in 2009 to 235 nearly 10 years later.
Russia, Bhutan and China have also reported increased sightings. However, the big cats are still at risk. Some of the main reasons why tigers are endangered include climate change - and the effect this is having on their habitat - and poaching.
What brilliant news for such an incredible species! Here's to hoping they continue to increase in the years to come.
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