India, more than any other country, has made progress in stabilizing the global tiger population—a fact worth remembering on 29 July, International Tiger Day.
Project Tiger, started in 1973, has ensured that India now has some 60% of the global tiger population—2,200-odd out of some 3,900.
But the manner in which tigers have dwindled over the past century, with 97% of their population dying out, shows how much work remains to be done.
Calibrating the manner in which core areas in tiger reserves can be preserved and villagers resettled, providing for corridors and enhanced methods for tracking and studying the tiger population, all run up against infrastructure development imperatives such as highways.
This balance between development and conservation is tricky but essential.
The target of doubling the global tiger population by 2022, agreed to by all stakeholders, might be ambitious, but even some progress towards it will help. Losing this predator is not an option.