Twitter | @ParveenKaswan, Siddharth Singh

Beautiful Viral Photo Of Tigress And Her Five Cubs Inspires Hope For Species

When it comes to animal conservation, 2020 hasn't had much good news. In fact, one could say that the year already totally sucks in that respect, since current modest estimates are that a billion animals have been killed in the Australia bushfires so far.

Which is probably why a simple photo of a tiger and her cubs shared by the India Forest Service (IFS) has gone viral, warming hearts around the world.

We all love tigers.

They are beautiful, elegant cats, but it's their distinctive striped fur that has played a large role in placing them on the endangered species list for decades.

In previous generations, poaching tigers for sport and pelts was big business.

According to the BBC , it's estimated that as many as 80,000 tigers were killed in India between 1875 and 1925 alone.

In 1972, India created strict wildlife protection laws and has been working ever since to protect native species and help them grow their population.

It's been a long, difficult process, but in 2006 the country finally began seeing the numbers tick up.

Unsplash | A G

In the most recent tiger census, there were nearly 3,000 tigers counted, which is about a 30% jump since the last count in 2014.

That's huge. Three thousand may not seem like much compared to the days of hunting them for sport, but according to the WWF the current population of tigers in the world is only 3,900.

So when IFS officer Siddharth Singh was out working in Dudhwa National Park and saw a tigress with her cubs, they snapped a pic.

Their coworker Parveen Kaswan saw how beautiful and important the image was and shared it on Twitter. Besides being a magical photo, the number of cubs is notable.

The average tiger litter is about three cubs, but this mom has five! Since tiger cubs sadly have a mortality rate of 50%, this is a great sign for future population growth.