Thursday’s statement by the Ministry of Environment stated that the country’s tigers have been removed from the brink and are now on a path of recovery. This is evident in quadrennial All India Tiger Estimation reports, which show a healthy annual growth of 6%.
The statement by the ministry comes after recent tiger killings in Madhya Pradesh.
It stated that the government’s efforts through the National Tiger Conservation Authority, (NTCA) have brought the tiger population from the brink to a path of recovery. This is evident in the findings of the quadrennial All India Tiger Estimation, which was conducted in 2006 and 2014.
These results show a healthy annual rate of tigers growth at 6 percent. This offsets natural losses, and keeps tigers within the habitats carrying capacities level, in the Indian context.
Further, the ministry stated that between 2012 and 2021, the country’s average tiger death rate hovers around 98. This is balanced by the strong growth rate that demonstrates the strength of the annual recruitment.
According to a news report, 60 of the 126 cases of tigers dying due to unnatural causes such as poaching, accidents or man-animal conflict in protected areas, the environment ministry stated it could only determine the cause of death after a thorough analysis.
In this light, it is important to mention that the NTCA uses a special standard operating procedure to assign cause to a tiger’s death. The protocol is strict unless the state concerned submits necropsy reports and histopathological and forensic assessment, as well as photographs and circumstantial evidence.
It was only after an in-depth analysis of these documents that it was possible to determine the cause of death for 60 tigers who died outside of tiger reserves.
The ministry stated that it is likely that the media will inform the above-mentioned facts to the country so there is no sensationalism, and citizens aren’t led to believe there is cause to alarm.
It also stated that certain media reports had highlighted the death of tigers in 2021 in an unbalanced view of tiger conservation in this country.
The ministry reiterated the fact that NTCA had taken many steps under Project Tiger to stop poaching, and that the reports don’t take into account the wide range of processes involved in dealing with tigers dying in the country.
Although it is true that the National Tiger Conservation Authority’s figures were used in these reports, the way it was presented raises alarm. It does not consider the many processes involved in dealing with tiger deaths in India and the natural gains made in tiger conservation as a result of sustained financial and technical interventions by the Government of India.
The NTCA is transparent in all aspects. It makes tiger death statistics accessible to citizens through its website, as well as a dedicated portal. People can then make a logical evaluation, if they so desire.
An official from the NTCA informed PTI earlier in the day that the cause for the recent death in Madhya Pradesh of the tigers was being investigated as it takes time.
According to the NTCA, 126 tigers died in India between 2021 and 2023. This is followed by 26 deaths from Maharashtra and 14 deaths in Karnataka.
A tiger was killed in Chhindwara (Madhya Pradesh) on Wednesday. This brings the total number of deaths in the state this year to 44. According to reports, a female tigress died in the state’s Dindori area two days ago from poisoning.
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