Tiger deaths at new high; 76 dead this year till October

07 November 2016

As many as 76 tiger deaths have been reported in the country from January to October this year, with Madhya Pradesh at the top of the list, accounting for nearly a third of all mortalities.

Karnataka, which boasts the highest tiger population in the country, was second with 13 deaths.

The national mortality figure is the highest since 2010 - 69 tiger deaths were reported in the whole of 2015. Conservationists have raised the alarm about increased poaching , given the rise in cases of seizure of tiger body parts across the country this year.

Twenty seizures were registered in the country till November, also the highest since 2010. One such seizure was made last month in Gondia district in Maharashtra.

The data has been released by 'tigernet', a collaborative effort of the National Tiger Conservation Authority and TRAFFIC-India. While 41 of the 76 deaths are still being investigated, the remaining have been attributed to direct or indirect human intervention - including poaching, poisoning, electrocution, road accidents and elimination by authorities - besides tigers attacking each other and natural causes.

Shekhar Kumar Niraj, head of TRAFFIC India, a wildlife trade monitoring network, said, "We usually witness a high incidence of poaching from August to November every year, though the reasons for this trend are unknown."

Other experts like Sejal Worah, project director India for WWF, however point out that this is the slack season for farming, leaving agricultural workers with time on their hands to indulge in poaching.

"The situation this year seems far more grim as there has been an almost 10 per cent increase in tiger mortalities and an over 150 per cent increase in seizures since last year," said Niraj.

"The Tadoba and Melghat regions of Maharashtra have always been more prone to tiger poaching. Maharashtra shares its border with Madhya Pradesh, where tiger mortalities and cases of poaching are the highest. The Nagpur region is known for cases of illegal trade of wildlife body parts," he said.

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