New Delhi: Tigers are India's national animals and this is something that the entire country – barring some – takes immense pride in.
Those few who don't, are the ones who take immense pride in something else – killing these beauties of nature.
According to latest reports and statistics, around 76 tigers have been killed in the country from January up till October, 2016. Madhya Pradesh has recorded the maximum number of tiger deaths, accounting for nearly a third of all mortalities. Karnataka, which boasts of harbouring the highest tiger population, comes a close second after recording as many as 13 tiger deaths.
These figures are the highest since 2010, with 69 tiger deaths being reported last year, in 2015.
Conservationists have raised the alarm on poaching, given the rise in cases of seizure of tiger body parts across the country this year.
Twenty seizures were registered in the country till November, also the highest since 2010. One such seizure was made last month in Gondia district in Maharashtra, the Times of India (TOI) said.
The data has been released by 'tigernet', a collaborative effort of the National Tiger Conservation Authority and TRAFFIC-India. While 41 of the 76 deaths are still being investigated, the remaining have been attributed to direct or indirect human intervention — including poaching, poisoning, electrocution, road accidents and elimination by authorities — besides tigers attacking each other and natural causes.
TOI further reported that, experts say the growing number of seizures could also mean that the government's intelligence gathering is becoming more sophisticated, which has helped trap more poachers. Debi Goenka, founder of NGO Conservation Action Trust, said tiger habitats in the country were under tremendous pressure. "There have been some success stories where tigers are breeding well which has helped increase their count, but this has happened in isolated pockets and not in all sanctuaries. In the case of saturated reserves, cubs move out to look for their own territory and become vulnerable to poaching and road accidents," he said.