After Roaring Out Loud, Madhya Pradesh Records Sharp Decline in Tiger Population With 28 Deaths in 2019
Image for representation.
Bhopal: The ‘Tiger State’ of Madhya Pradesh, which in the 2019 census recorded the most number of estimated tigers at 526, registered a sharp decline in its tiger population after losing 28 members of the cat family by the end of the year.
According to the data compiled by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the state witnessed a total of 27 tiger deaths in 2019 and lost another 50 leopards, mostly to road accidents.
The number of deaths recorded in 2019 are more than double as compared to 2018, when MP lost 13 tigers.
However, another study conducted by the forest department puts the number of tiger deaths in the state at 28.
The discrepancies in numbers are observed because in several cases, the forest staff could only recover carcasses of the animal days after their demise.
The Kanha tiger reserve, according to the NTCA report, has been the biggest loser, witnessing seven tiger deaths followed by the Bandhavgarh tiger reserve, which reported six deaths.
The report also refutes the chief wildlife warden’s claim that none of the deaths were caused by poaching, stating that the state lost at least four tigers because of illegal poaching activities carried out beyond the ‘protected areas’ in Satpura and Pench.
Illegal hunting of the animal is on the rise in Madhya Pradesh as the big cats have started to venture out of the protected areas in all six tiger reserves that have reached their saturation level in terms of population.
Speaking to News18, Additional Chief Wildlife Warden JS Chauhan called the tiger deaths “unfortunate” and assured of the department’s persistent efforts to improve management and technology to bring down the number of casualties.
“We are pondering over a biennial census of tigers across the state,” he said. “We are also striving to improve the monitoring mechanism.”
The forest official added that the recovery of carcasses, however, affirms the fact that the ground staff is vigilant and “not slack when it comes to monitoring.”
According to another report by the NTCA, India lost 657 tigers between 2012 and 2017 and MP was hit the hardest with an alarming 141 deaths.
To add, Madhya Pradesh once the biggest home to Royal Bengal Tigers by 20th century was unseated as the 'Tiger State' by Karnataka in 2010. The tiger count had shrunk to mere 257 by this year in the central Indian state.