16 tigers died in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha this year: NTCA data

Updated on Aug 05, 2022 08:23 PM IST
Maharashtra forest officials said only one of the 16 tigers was killed by poachers in the Bhandara forest division. Four died due to electrocution and two more due to accidents
According to NTCA data, 16 tiger deaths were reported from Maharashtra this year, all from the state’s Vidarbha region (ANI File Photo)
According to NTCA data, 16 tiger deaths were reported from Maharashtra this year, all from the state’s Vidarbha region (ANI File Photo)
ByPradip Kumar Maitra

Sixteen tigers have died in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region this year, next only to Madhya Pradesh where 27 tiger deaths were reported, according to data compiled by the National Tiger Conservation Authority.

According to NTCA, the 16 tigers died in the forest region of Nagpur, Chandrapur, Akola, Gondia, Umred, Bhandara, Bramhapuri, Allapalli and Gadchiroli. Only two of the 16 tiger deaths were reported from the project tiger areas.

According to the state wildlife officials, 9 tigers died of natural causes or due to territorial fights, 4 due to electrocution, two deaths due to accidents and only one due to poaching which took place in the Bhandara forest division.

Maharashtra has six project tiger sanctuaries of which five are in the Vidarbha region, namely Tadoba (Chandrapur), Melghat (Amravati), Pench (Nagpur), Navegaon-Nagzira (Bhandara) and Bor (Wardha). Sahyadri Tiger Reserve is the only tiger project which is spread over Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Ratnagiri districts of west Maharashtra. No tiger death was reported in west Maharashtra during the period.

According to NTCA, Maharashtra recorded 184 tiger deaths in the decade from 2012 to August 2022. Till 2012-2019, Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) reported 18 tiger deaths, the highest in the state, followed by Pench Tiger Reserve (12), Melghat Tiger Reserve (11), Navegaon-Nagzira (2) and Bor Tiger Reserve (1).

Mohan Kothekar, a wildlife activist, said the state has been reporting a substantial number of tiger deaths due to lack of accountability, adding that the number of deaths witnessed a sharp increase in summer months.

Due to extreme weather during the summer in Vidarbha region, particularly Chandrapur that is home to the Tadoba tiger sanctuary, patrolling by forest personnel decreases.

Sunil Limaye, the state wildlife warden and principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife), Maharashtra state said most of the 16 tigers died of natural causes. “Almost all these tigers lost their lives naturally. Some of them died due to territorial fights with other tigers,” he said, asserting that tiger conservation in Maharashtra is really satisfactory.

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