Will the TX2 (Tiger times two) initiative double the tiger population by 2022, the next Chinese Year of the Tiger?
We learn about tigers from a young age, from the popular ‘bouncy trouncy’ Tigger featured in the Winnie-the-Pooh books by A. A. Milne to the self-centred Shere Kahn from Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. We may not be so aware however, that the wild tigers have been in rapid decline for decades and this endangered species is at the risk of becoming extinct. That is until the launch of an ambitious project called the TX2 initiative which was launched in 2010 to try and double the tiger population by 2022, the next Chinese Year of the Tiger.
This must be one of the most ambitious conservation goals ever undertaken for a single endangered species and the good news is the program is working. The tiger population has been rising and conservationists say that the scheme has seen an increase of the animals in the wild across five countries: Bhutan, China, India, Nepal and Russia. In India alone, the number of wild tigers has more than doubled from 2006 to 2018, with estimates of as many as 3000 or more in the country. This is an achievement that not only offers a future for tigers in the wild, but for the landscapes they inhabit and the communities living alongside this iconic big cat.
Tigers are facing an increasing number of problems when it comes to surviving in the regions they have previously thrived in for thousands of years, including changes to land use, loss of habitat, hunting and poaching which still remains a very real threat. The progress of the TX2 (Tigers x two) is a result of tigers and their habitat being better protected, so they can thrive happily with space, food and water.
The success has been partly achieved due to the political support, funding, collaboration and innovation given to tigers by the inspirational TX2 goal. So just like many of the ‘remastered’ movies versions of the fictional tigers, by making changes in our behaviour and remastering the landscape and habitat in a responsible way, with the support and full commitment of each countries governments, businesses, conservation and communities, these animals have a shot at having a sustainable future and continue their ‘remarkable’ comeback
Five Facts That You Probably Did Not Know About Tigers.
Tigers are one of the most beautiful yet ferocious animals, but they have some unusual characteristics. Here are a few facts about tigers that you may not know.
1. Tigers are the largest amongst other wild cats.
Bengal Tigers are the largest amongst other wild cats, but did you also know that a male tiger can weigh the equivalent to six average humans: approx. 300 kilograms. If a fully grown tiger sat on top of you licking it’s paws, you would not stand a chance of surviving.
2. Tiger cubs are born blind and only half of the cubs survive.
New-born cubs literally can’t see anything when they are born and can only follow the scent of their mother. Unfortunately, most of them die of hunger or cold, because they can’t keep up and some may even get eaten by male tigers to make the tigress available for mating.
3. Tigers are Good Swimmers!
Unlike most members of the cat family, tigers like spending time in water and often cool off in pools or streams and love to swim for hours. Tigers even can hunt and kill their prey in the water too!
4. Tiger stripes are also found on their skin.
It is true that like human fingerprints, the unique pattern of stripes on Tigers acts like their identity. If you shave off the fur of tigers, you would still see the stripes.
5. Tigers’ urine smells like buttered popcorn.
Tigers’ urine smells like buttered popcorn but signifies a warning sign to any intruders in their territory.