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No let up in tiger deaths: Three die in U’khand, 14 in other states

dehradun Updated: Feb 23, 2017 20:25 IST
Nihi Sharma
Nihi Sharma
Hindustan Times

A tiger crosses a road inside Corbett . (HT Photo)

Dehradun:India is losing its tigers at the same pace as last year. So far, 17 tigers have died within two months – the same number reported during the period last year, says the official website of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). Uttarakhand has reported three deaths which was only one in 2016.

Infighting, as per forest officers, was the reason for the three deaths. Incidentally, all the three were earlier spotted with a tigress in the region. “All three tigers were spotted within an area of 8-10 sq km with the same tigress. Territorial fighting killed all them all,” Parag Madhukar Dhakate, conservator of forest Terai West, told Hindustan Times.

The latest tiger death was reported on February 22 from Terai West forest division. Prior to this, another tiger was found dead in the same division on February 15 and the first reported on January 19. Six deaths and equal number of tiger skin seizures were reported last year in Uttarakhand.

But, there’s also not denying the fact that space crunch pose threat to tigers that claim territory. “Be it any forest, protected or division, the rising tigers numbers in the limited space will lead to mortality. Infighting is one of the main features among the big cats to protect territory,” Wildlife Institute of India senior scientist Bivash Pandav said.

The latest Phase IV tiger monitoring in western circle of Uttarakhand that includes Terai divisions and Ramnagar have reported 119 adults, up from only 79 in 2014. The All India Tiger Estimation 2014 reports 340 tigers in Uttarakhand of which nearly 220 are in Corbett Tiger Reserve.

In 2016, the country lost 99 tigers and 22 skins were seized. Seventeen tigers have died and one tiger skin seizure made so far this year.

“From conservation perspective, when tiger numbers are increasing, then certainly some will also die. Our responsibility is that they should not fall victim to poaching or poisoning. Death in inevitable for all living beings,” National Tiger Conservation Authority member secretary BS Bonal said.

First Published: Feb 23, 2017 20:21 IST