Delhi: At a time when the tiger population is fast dwindling, India has reported an alarming increase in tiger deaths.
An estimated 48 tigers have reportedly died in the first six months of this year (till June 10). Nearly 40 per cent of the total deaths have been caused due to poaching.
The rising demand for tiger parts in various South-East Asian countries and the increasing man-animal conflict are the key reasons for the rise in tiger deaths, said S. P. Yadav, Deputy Inspector-General, National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
The country had witnessed 56 tiger deaths in 2011. The number of poaching cases was relatively small in 2011 where only nine out of the 56 deaths was caused due to poaching.
“The strong demand for various tiger parts in countries like Thailand and Vietnam in South-East Asia has led to an increase in poaching in India's tiger reserves. Conflict with villagers who live in the vicinity of the reserves also leads to the killing of tigers,” Yadav said at a CSE (Centre for Science and Environment) organised media workshop on tiger habitat and conservation in Delhi recently.
The highest rates of tiger mortality have been in the Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand and in the Tadoba Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra.
Human and livestock pressure, unsustainable land uses, and lack of adequate protection, are some of the other reasons for the sharp increase in the number of tiger deaths, Yadav said.
Tigers have an average lifespan of 8-10 years so close to 18-20 per cent of tigers die natural deaths. According to the May 2011 census, India hosts a majority of the world's tiger population at about 1,700 tigers.
To counter the rising numbers, NTCA recently issued a red alert and has declared that all tiger deaths will be treated as poaching unless proven otherwise.
“States are afraid of intimating mortality so we have issued this order. We have also ensured that one official from the conservation authority will attend each post mortem to bring in transparency,” he said.
NTCA is also undertaking intensive patrolling monitoring data from camera traps for any disappearances from tiger reserves. email@example.com
Source: the Business Line, June 16, 2012