National Tiger Conservation Authority Current Affairs - 2020

Tigers in India face lurking threat from Canine Distemper Virus

According to recent study published in Threatened Taxa, tigers face glooming threat from Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) transmitted from CDV-infected dogs living in and around wildlife sanctuaries. It has found that 86% of tested dogs around Ranthambhore National Park in Rajasthan carried CDV antibodies in their bloodstream. This finding points out that there is increased risk of disease transfer from the dogs to tigers and leopards that live in the park. In 2018, over 20 lions from Gir Wildlife Sanctuary had died due to canine distemper virus infection.

About Canine Distemper Virus

It is highly contagious viral disease that attacks gastrointestinal, respiratory, central nervous systems, immune system and other vital organs of wide variety of animal species, including dogs, coyotes, foxes, pandas and wolves. In most of the cases, this infection is fatal. It is also known as hardpad disease. It is considered dangerous virus and is blamed for wiping out 30% population of African lions in East African forests.

Cause: It is caused by single-stranded RNA virus of family Paramyxoviridae (the same family of viruses that causes mumps, measles, and bronchiolitis in humans). This virus is similar to measles virus in humans and rinderpest virus which affects cattle.

Transmission: It is highly contagious via inhalation and can also be transmitted by shared food and water bowls and equipment.

Treatment/Diagnosis: There is no cure for canine distemper infection. Its treatment typically consists of supportive care and generic efforts to prevent infections.

Way Forward

As a precautionary measure, National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has prepared guideline to prevent the spillover of this viral disease to wild animals. Free-ranging and domestic dogs in the area around national parks should be vaccinated which will help to reduce chances of disease spillover to wildlife.

29 July: International Tiger Day (Global Tiger Day)

Every year 29 July is celebrated across the world as Global Tiger Day to create awareness about tiger conservation and protection of natural habitat of tigers.

Why 29 July? This is because 29 July act as a reminder of agreement signed by countries at Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in Russia in 2010, to raise awareness about decline of global tiger population. Signatories declared an agreement that governments of tiger-populated countries would double animal’s population by 2022.

Global Tiger Day 2019

On occasion of Global Tiger Day 2019 Prime Minister Narendra Modi will release results of 4th cycle of All India Tiger Estimation (AITE) in New Delhi. The Tiger Estimation exercise is believed to be world’s largest wildlife survey effort in terms of- coverage, quantum of camera trapping and intensity of sampling. In India All India Tiger Estimation is conducts in every 4 years.

Government of India and National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has also carried out an economic valuation of tigers in mitigating adverse impact of climate change.

Tiger Conservation in India

Tigers are one of world’s most iconic species. Tigers are an ‘Umbrella Species’ as their conservation also conserves many other species in same area.

Thus with initiative of conserving India’s national animal, Project Tiger was launched in 1973. Due to planned efforts under Project Tiger, at present India has distinction of having maximum number of tigers in world. The 2014 country level tiger assessment had shown a 30% increase of tigers i.e. from 1706 in 2010, tiger population has increased to 2226 in 2014.

However, despite conservation efforts since 1970s, wild tiger populations showed a rapid decline therefore in 2010, during St. Petersburg Declaration, tiger range countries had resolved to double tiger numbers by 2022.

Significance: Observing World Tiger Day is significant because according to World Wildlife Fund (WWF), currently there are only around 3,900 wild tigers in world and as per reports, since the beginning of 20th century around 95% of global tiger population has been lost to various activities like poaching, etc.