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Territorial fight claims another tiger; 7th big cat death in Uttarakhand’s Corbett, 14th in state

A tiger has been found dead in Bijrani range of Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR), taking the total number of big cat deaths in the state to 14 this year. Of these, seven big cat deaths have been reported in the Corbett

dehradun Updated: Dec 01, 2017 20:53 IST
Nihi Sharma
Nihi Sharma
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand news,Corbett Tiger Reserve,tiger death
Tourists enjoying tiger sighting at Corbett Tiger Reserve.(HT File Photo.)

A tiger has been found dead in Bijrani range of Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR), taking the total number of big cat deaths in the state to 14 this year. Of these, seven big cat deaths have been reported in the Corbett.

The carcass was found Thursday. It is likely that the tiger was killed in a territorial fight, forest officials said, adding that they have noted the presence of another tiger in that area.

The territorial fights among the tigers have seen a steady rise in the Corbett owing to the high density of the big cats there. As per the officials, 80% of the tiger deaths reported this year had been due to infighting.

At the last count, the densely populated reserve had 215 tigers as per the All India Tiger Estimation-2015. The Phase-IV monitoring had then put the minimum number of big cats in Corbett at 163, which swelled to 208 this year. This reflects that in the last three years, the minimum numbers of tigers in the 1288 sqkm reserve area has increased by at least 60.

Wildlife experts say that on an average, a single tiger’s territory is spread over 100 sqkm area. Going by that rule, each tiger in the reserve currently has access to only 6 sqkm, which is a fraction of the average suggested by scientists at Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

“It’s obvious that tigers would fight for territory and survival in a place like Corbett where big cat population is booming. The nature has its cycle on,” Qamar Qureshi, scientist and tiger expert at WII told Hindustan Times.

India has successfully managed to increase its tiger population after some remarkable efforts from 1449 in 2006 to 2226 in 2015. Corbett is the lone tiger reserve where the tiger population has seen an exponential rise — mostly due to the dedicated conservation measure.

The 2015 national data has reported 103 tigers in Kaziranga and 101 at Nagarhole. Apart from Corbett, its adjoining forest divisions too have reported healthy tiger population.

“That the big cats should not fall prey to poaching is something that country is currently focusing at. The natural selection of survival of the fittest will continue. We cannot do anything about that,” Dinesh Pandey, a Haldwani-based wildlife activist said.

First Published: Dec 01, 2017 20:53 IST