Increasing Tiger Population:The Bitter Truth II
Had written this blog sometime in April, raising concern over an increase in the number of tiger deaths over 2010, the number has further increased to 28 with Uttarakhand losing another 5 big cats…. am surprised to note that the death of T2, a male tiger from Ranthambhore who died on 21.05.11 is still not updated in the records of the forest department, whereas deaths after that have been included. Appended data has been taken from MOEF. Is this an error due to oversight or T2 was already dead in the records of the department therefore this death was not accounted for.
If somebody has answers I am listening
While Gods of Tiger (FD officials, MOEF, WII & the entire gang) are still busy taking credit for the so-called increase in tiger population as per the latest estimates, there is a bitter truth we all seem to be ignoring.
With all due respect to above mentioned Gods, I do not deny the increase in tiger population despite all the so-called errors in census methodology. Some of the common errors reported from the field are faulty camera traps, non-inclusion of certain tiger habitats like Bijnor where no camera traps were laid, rare incidents of admission from WII regarding the error in the calculation of population in Maharashtra etc. etc
The bitter truth is that we seem to be outdoing 2010 in terms of tiger mortality rate i.e. in four months of 2011, we have already lost half of the tiger population lost in whole of 2010. During the entire 2010, we lost 42 tigers (source Govt mortality data) & we have already lost 21 tigers as of 13th April 2011. The only comforting factor is that there are only 2-3 deaths due to poaching & the rest are due to other reasons.
This is the official data on dead tigers & we are not including missing tigers about which the forest department does not seem to have any clue. One such case is T29, a male tiger from Ranthambhore. This tiger was injured in a territorial fight & was last sighted on 22.02.11. The forest department tried to tranquillize the tiger for treatment but was not successful. Since then, the tiger has not been sighted even once & nobody seems to be having a clue about him.
Seven tigers were reported dead in January 2011, 9 in February, 2 in March & 3 deaths have been reported so far in April taking the count to 21. While the maximum number of deaths have been reported from Uttarakhand(six), Tamil Nadu, Assam, MP, Karnataka & Kerela have lost 2 tigers each whereas one death has been reported from Maharastra, Orissa, Rajasthan & West Bengal.
While there could be various reasons for these deaths like Poaching, territorial fights, natural mortality etc the fact is at this rate we will lose around 60 odd tigers in 2011. As it is the mortality rate of tigers is very high, more deaths due to non-natural reasons can easily wipe away the good work done.