numbers for big cats
THE INDIAN EXPRESS
Shukla, 30th August 2009
LUCKNOW: The new tiger census will
begin this October. But, a noticeable number of the big cats from the
reported count of 2008 census will be missing from the exercise. Reason
being that they have either been poached, died in an accident, or fell
prey to ailments.
The 28 tiger deaths reported in 2008 and 67
mortalities reported since January this year, perhaps, indicate a
jinxed existence for the treasured felines, in the country. Despite the
allotment of sizable funds for the tigers' cause and Central
authorities co-ordinating their protection plans, tiger conservation
efforts have not lived up to expectations in the country.
67 tiger deaths reported this year, 24 were due to poaching and
seizures. The remaining deaths were caused either by accidents or
natural reasons. "It is difficult to talk about the exact reason as in
most of the cases post-mortem reports are awaited", said Tito Joseph
from Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI). The figures are
compiled by WPSI, the agency that has been working with many state
forest departments for tiger conservation.
The mortalities have
been reported from across the states, including Uttar Pradesh. UP has
lost five of its tigers in 2009. Among these was a young tigress which
wandered out of Pilibhit and was shot dead by the forest department in
Faizabad. The state also reported two cases of poaching.
to simple mathematics, 67 tiger deaths in eight months make it to eight
tiger deaths each month. It is also worth mentioning that these
mortalities are the ones reported by the states and the enforcement
agencies. There is no mention of the deaths that go unnoticed. "We
record the data when we are informed that a tiger body has been found",
While natural and accidental deaths get usually
reported, poachers might not leave any proof of the tiger being killed
at the spot. A glaring example was that of the Panna Tiger Reserve
which lost all its 24 tigers over a period of five to six years. The
lid was blown off only when all its tigers were killed.
things are not all hunky dory for other tiger reserves too. The
ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) has already sounded an alert
for seven reserves -- Buxa reserve in West Bengal, Namdapha in
Arunachal Pradesh, Manas in Assam, Valmiki in Bihar, Simlipal in
Orissa, Indravati in Chhattisgarh and Palamu in Jharkhand. There have
either been no or very few tiger spottings in these reserves.
to the February 2008 census, there were 1,411 tigers in 28 tiger
reserves of the country. But since then, 95 tigers have already been
reported dead -- 28 in 2008 and 67 in 2009. Since there is no database
currently being maintained by the government, the available figures are
the only reference available for enforcement agencies and the states.
The database by the wildlife crime control bureau is under construction.