International Tiger Day was established in 2010 at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in Russia by the countries home to tigers. The Global Tiger Initiative, a group of nations and conservation organisations, chose this date to raise awareness about the global loss of the tiger population, to protect their natural habitat, and to conserve the species.
One of the most iconic cats in the world, tigers have mesmerised humans with the grace in their stride, precision in hunting, and the lushness of their skin. Their appearance is royal, and their presence is crucial for the forest ecosystem. The black and yellow stripes have enamoured the fashion industry and inspired artists and photographers.
Kairav Engineer is one such wildlife photographer. The executive director at Astral Limited has documented breathtaking wildlife images worldwide. In his coffee table book Ranthambore, he has recorded in-depth notes about each tiger he captured through his camera lens. For International Tiger Day, Engineer shares some images he clicked and a few fascinating facts about the iconic animal. They communicate through roars, each with a unique frequency for individual recognition. Their powerful jaws can crush the skull and spine of large prey. They are silent stalkers and solitary hunters. Tigers are more genetically diverse compared to any other big cat species. They are skilled swimmers with excellent night vision. Like human fingerprints, each tiger’s stripe pattern is unique. Tigers are endangered. Only 3,900 of them remain in the wild today. The main reasons for the loss of the tiger population are poaching, climate change, and the destruction of their natural habitat.