India's Environment Ministry records 73 tiger deaths
The Environment Ministry submitted a report to the Rajya Sabha which outlined the dire circumstances of the Tiger population in India. The Ministry's report shows that nearly 73 tigers have died this year, with a major chunk of the deaths attributed to poaching activities. The alarming number is much higher than that of 78 deaths recorded through the whole of 2015.
Report shows rising tiger population in India
Earlier this year, India's Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar said at a conference that India's tiger count has grown tremendously over the last two years. The figures were announced soon after the WWF and Global Tiger Forum placed an increase in the tiger population to 3,890 in 2016 from 3,200 in 2010. Javadekar said India's count has risen to 2,500 from 2,226 in 2014.
2015 and now: Rising tiger deaths
Last year witnessed nearly 78 tiger mortality cases, although the data captured spanned the entire year. In 2015, the reported mortality cases showed around 28 tiger deaths happened due to natural causes, while 14 deaths were because of poaching activities. The remaining 36 cases from 2015 are still under inspection. This year's record translates to almost 10 tiger deaths every month in India.
Environment Ministry's record on the tiger mortality cases
"73 cases of tiger mortality have been reported by the states till date which inter alia include 21 cases of confirmed poaching including seizure, seven cases due to natural and other causes while 45 cases are under scrutiny," Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave said.
State-wise data on tiger deaths in 2016
It was reported that several of the deaths occurred in Madhya Pradesh, with nearly 19 fatalities. Following behind, Uttarakhand and Maharashtra witnessed 9 deaths each. It was also stated that the maximum deaths due to poaching were reported from Madhya Pradesh. A worrying trend is that the tiger deaths due to poaching were reported from nearly 15 states in India.
National Tiger Conservation Authority on adopting measures to curtail poaching
"Only 20% of the tigers have died of natural death. I will discuss with the governments to fill vacant posts in the lower grades to guard the forests properly and prevent poaching activities." - Vaibhav C Mathur, Assistant Inspector General of Forests.