People, Environment

India's Rising Tiger Deaths Cause for Alarm

Tiger deaths have risen by 25% in the past year.Tiger deaths have risen by 25% in the past year.

The euphoria over the rise in world tiger population early this year may have been misplaced for India, as the official data placed before parliament shows 98 tigers died in the country till November 16, 2016, a steep 25% rise over last year when 78 deaths were reported.

The figures collected by National Tiger Conservation Authority also take the wind out of government efforts to encourage tiger foundations for sensitizing the public and fighting poachers to save the big cats.

"Poaching and poisoning continue to be tigers' worst enemies in the wild," environment minister, Anil Madhav Dave, told Mail Today, explaining the challenges before the government.

"The villagers and some criminal social groups living in or at the fringes of tiger reserves get lured by the money offered by poaching syndicates of southeast Asia, where there is a huge demand for tiger body parts … We are battling that to save our big cats."

Curiously, a high percentage of tiger deaths in the NTCA data remain unexplained, as the official records show "details awaited" or "cases under scrutiny" as the stated reason for the death.

Environmentalists point out that in such cases, the deaths are considered unnatural, with poaching as the most common motive, India Today reported.

The NTCA has also issued an advisory stating that all tiger deaths will be treated as poaching unless and until proven otherwise. Hence, the number of poaching cases under such a condition is over 65% of the total tiger deaths reported in 2016.


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