Tiger state Madhya Pradesh has lost 14 tigers in the last four months in different wildlife habitats of the state, including four between April 1 to 4.
Of the total tigers reported dead, 10 had lost their lives within the earmarked area of tiger reserves, while four were reported dead outside the area.
According to the National Tiger Conservation Authority’s (NTCA) report, three tigers were reported dead in Pench Tiger Reserve, two each in Bandhavgarh, Sanjay Tiger Reserve, Kanha Tiger Reserve and one in Satpura Tiger Reserve. The remaining four big cats were reported dead outside the wildlife habitat areas.
The NTCA report also suggests that of the 14 big cats lost between January 1 and April 4, six were female and three male, while the identity of five remained unknown.
Of the three tigers who died in the last four days, two were found dead in Satpura Tiger Reserve (STR) in Narmadapuram (Hoshangabad) district and the third in Balaghat. A senior officer in STR said the carcass of a female cub, aged around 5-6 months, was spotted by a forest patrol in Mogra area of Pachmarhi range on Saturday. The officer said that there were multiple injuries on her body, suggesting a possible attack by an adult tiger.
Another tiger aged around eight years was found severely injured and gasping for breath. Wildlife vets tranquilised and took it for treatment, but it could not survive. “The tiger died in the cage while being taken for treatment.
“Both the tigers died due to territorial fights with another tiger,” the officer said.
The death count of tigers in Madhya Pradesh remained higher than other states despite the state government spending a handsome amount of money every year for conservation, security and monitoring. As per the state government report, around Rs 28.30 lakh was spent during 2018-19, while this amount was Rs 22.49 lakh in 2019-20. Similarly, the state government spent Rs 26.42 lakh and Rs 12.88 lakh in the financial years 2020-21 and 2021-22 respectively.
The NTCA’s data shows that overall, 39 tigers were reported dead across the country in the last four months. Madhya Pradesh, like in the previous years, led with 14 tiger deaths, followed by Maharashtra with 10, while Karnataka was at third place with 6 tiger deaths.
Ajay Dubey, a wildlife activist, said that due to the absence of accountability of the field officers, MP has been reporting the maximum number of deaths of tigers. He claimed that during the summer, the number of deaths of tigers or other wild animals witnessed a sharp increase due to various reasons.
“Due to extreme weather during the summer, patrolling by forest officers decreases. As during autumn, visibility in the forest increases many times more than other seasons due to the fall of leaves. Another reason is that during the summer wild animals would be found near water ponds which provides ample opportunity for poachers to target animals,” Dube added.