Bhopal: Notwithstanding the recent death of four tigers in Madhya Pradesh due to electrocution and poaching, the state government is hopeful of winning back the `tiger state` status from Karnataka after the next census of the big cats.
Four tigers died recently in the state-- three due to electrocution and another one succumbed to its injuries after it was allegedly trapped by poachers.
Though there was an increase in the number of tigers in Madhya Pradesh by 43 in the last tiger census, the total number of the big cats found in the state was 257, whereas Karnataka was ahead in the count as nearly 300 tigers were spotted in the state. This resulted in Madhya Pradesh losing the `tiger state` title to Karnataka, which the former had carried for several years.
However, Madhya Pradesh Forest Minister Sartaj Singh says he is hopeful that the state would get back the coveted `tiger state` from Karnataka in the next census.
"I have been saying that in the last tiger census, those responsible for counting tigers have done so in a wrong manner, which we will rectify next time and get back the coveted `tiger state` status," Sartaj told PTI here today.
"We are hopeful that this time the tiger count would cross the 300-mark," he said.
Referring to the recent incidents of electrocution of tigers, the minister said that members of a particular tribe indulged in poaching for their livelihood.
In June this year, a full grown male tiger died due to electrocution in Kathoutia range in Sehore district about 32 km away from the state capital.
In September, a sub-adult male tiger lost its life after getting trapped. The hind limbs of the tiger were paralysed in the process, following which, it died.
Last month, a full grown tigress was electrocuted near Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve while in Katni district`s Bagdari area, a tiger accidentaly got in contact with an 11 KV line while pulling a cow.
On December 10, a male tiger was electrocuted in Ghunghuti range area near Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve.
Taking note of the issue, NGO `Prayanta`, which is working for conservation of tigers, has filed a petition to state Governor Ram Naresh Yadav four days back, demanding constitution of a Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) at the earliest.
Citing recent incidents of tiger poaching and electrocution, he expressed fears that 257 tigers in six tiger reserves of the state were facing threat to their lives.
He claimed that 11 tigers died due to electrocution in the last three years.
"When the forest guards were working as domestic helps in the bungalows of forest officials then how can they protect the tigers from the poachers," Dube asked.
For the constitution of STPF, 100 per cent funding would be done by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) under the Project Tiger, but the state is not doing anything on the issue, he said.