Watch: Growth of Indian tiger population to 3,000 announced on International Tiger Day

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By Sinead Barry  with AP
Bengal tiger cub in Guadalupe
Bengal tiger cub in Guadalupe   -   Copyright  REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

The tiger population of India has increased to almost 3,000 said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. The announcement comes on International Tiger Day, upon which the endangered animal is being celebrated worldwide.

The results of the census show that India is now the safest region in the world for tigers, a huge jump from previous counts. Less than fifteen years ago the tiger population of India was less than half than it is now, at approximately 1,400.

Among the reasons that India's national animal became and remains endangered is illegal poaching, along with the destruction of habitats like forests and grasslands.

Conflict between humans and wildlife has been increasing in India since the 1970s, where the country's vast and rapidly growing population often encroach on traditional wildlife spaces. It is estimated that one person every day is killed by a tiger or an elephant in India according to government data.

Although the tiger population has increased significantly in recent years, hunting of the endangered animal is still rampant. Tigers and elephants are some of the most hunted creatures in India, with their bones and tusks sold on the black market for use in Chinese medicine among other things.

Video editor • Francois Rudolf