India Has Lost 750 Tigers Over The Past 8 Years

by Gizel Menezes
India Has Lost 750 Tigers Over The Past 8 Years

In a shocking state of affairs, as many as 750 tigers have died in the country in the past 8 years due to poaching and other causes. As per official data, Madhya Pradesh, which has the highest number of tigers in India, has reported the highest casualties with 173 tiger deaths.

India Loses 750 Tigers In The Past 8 Years

As per data released by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), of the 750 total deaths, 369 tigers in the country have died due to natural causes while another 168 due to poaching. Further, 70 tiger deaths are still under scrutiny, while 42 have occurred due to unnatural causes like accident or conflicts.

If one looks at the state-wise data, Madhya Pradesh has lost the highest number of tigers at 173, followed by Maharashtra with 125 tiger deaths. The other states that have lost tigers include Karnataka (111), Uttarakhand (88), Tamil Nadu (54) Assam (54), Kerala (35), Uttar Pradesh (35) , Rajasthan (17), Bihar (11), West Bengal (11) and Chhattisgarh (10).

Poaching is one the gravest threats to tigers. And despite strict laws, it continues to happen. According to the numbers, Madhya Pradesh again tops the list, with 38 tigers lost due to poaching. Similarly, Maharashtra and Karnataka have lost 28 tigers each due to poaching. Other states where the big cats died due to poaching include Assam (17 ), Uttarakhand (14 ), Uttar Pradesh (12), Tamil Nadu (11), Kerala (6) and Rajasthan (3), among others.

Reportedly, about 101 big cats were also seized during the during the 8-year period between 2012 and 2019 by different authorities across the country.

Image courtesy: Explara

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Wildlife Activists Express Grave Concern About Tiger Deaths

Currently, the tiger count in our country stands at 2,976. And in the past 4 years, there has been a increase in the tiger population in the country by 750. However, a similar number of deaths in the past 8 years is a matter of grave concern too.

Several wildlife activists have expressed concerns over these tiger deaths. Many of them support stricter wildlife provisions to punish the guilty. Usually, a general offence under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, attracts a maximum sentence of 3 years imprisonment or a fine which may extend to INR 25,000 or both. However, as per data, conviction rate for wildlife crimes is quite low in our country. And for poachers, the conviction rate stands at a shocking 4%.

In order to stop poaching and all wildlife-related crimes, a combination of community outreach, sustained education and law enforcement is essential. That is the only way through which our wildlife stand a fair chance at survival.

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