With seven tiger deaths, four of them in April alone this year, Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh is making the headlines now, dragging people’s attention away ‘Mowgli land’ Pench where eight big cats died between January and the first week of April. Tiger lovers, who were earlier worried over tiger deaths in Pench, are now worried over the increasing tiger mortality in Kanha Tiger Reserve.
Wildlife conservationist Sagnik Sengupta said 2016 was turning out to be an extremely bad year for tigers in MP, with the death of 20 tigers. “First we saw a spree of tiger deaths in Pench. When deaths stopped in there, they picked up in Kanha. Seven tiger deaths in such a short time in Kanha is a matter of concern for wildlife lovers. Wildlife officials should explore ways to check it”, said Sengupta.
With overall death of 20 tigers since January 1, Madhya Pradesh has recorded the highest tiger mortality for any state in the country this year. MP, which was known as the ‘Tiger State’ with maximum numbers of striped cats, lost the tag to Karnataka with 300 tigers in 2010 wildlife census. In January 2015, the latest tiger census showed numbers had increased from 257 in 2010 to 308 in MP. However since January 2015, 31 tigers have died in the state.
Senior wildlife officials in the state forest department said such deaths in high-density tiger habitat were natural and any human intervention could prove counterproductive. “Since 2010, tiger numbers have increased in Kanha. In 2010, there were 37 adult tigers and 2 cubs in Kanha. Based on this data, a projection was made for the entire Kanha tiger habitat, which revealed there were roughly 60 tigers in this reserve. Right now, based on the new tiger counting method, there are a minimum of 80 tigers and 25 cubs in Kanha. This means there are over 105 tigers in Kanha” said field director Kanha Tiger Reserve JS Chauhan.
TIGER DEATHS IN KANHA RESERVE THIS YEAR
Kanha Tiger Reserve, located in the Maikal ranges of the Satpuras is spread over Mandla and BalaghaNational Tiger Conservation Authority website, this reserve with an area of 2074 sq km comprises of 940 sq km national park and 1134 sq km buffer zone.
June 16: Tigress found dead
May 21: Tigress dies in territorial fight
April 26: Tiger cub dies in Kisli range of Kanha Reserve
April 18: 8-year-old tigress dies while defending its two cubs from another male in the Mukki range
April 14: A 14-year-old male tiger dies of old age and starvation in the Supkhar range
April 8: A tiger cub dies in the Gorella Mukki forest area
March 9: Tiger found dead in the Kisli forest