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27th December 2023 (8 Topics)

Alarming Rise in Tiger Deaths: India Loses Record 204 Tigers in 2023


India’s tiger population increased by 200 from 2018 to 2022, according to new figures released this year

India lost 204 tigers in 2023, most of them in Maharashtra: WPSI

  • Tiger Deaths in 2023: India, home to a significant population of tigers, has witnessed a distressing surge in tiger deaths during the year 2023, with a record-breaking toll of 204 tigers lost.
  • Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI): The data, meticulously compiled by the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), underscores the urgent need for conservation efforts and a reevaluation of strategies to protect these majestic creatures.

State-wise Breakdown:

  • Maharashtra led the unfortunate tally with 52 tiger deaths,
  • Followed closely by Madhya Pradesh, the country's top tiger state, with 45 casualties.
  • Uttarakhand reported 26 deaths, while Tamil Nadu and Kerala documented 15 deaths
  • Karnataka, boasting the second-highest tiger population, recorded 13 deaths, and Assam and Rajasthan reported 10 each.
  • Other states, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana, also witnessed tiger fatalities, albeit in comparatively lower numbers.

Causes of Tiger Deaths: The causes of these distressing tiger deaths were diverse, with 'Natural & other causes' accounting for the highest toll, claiming 79 tigers.

  • Poaching emerged as a grave concern, causing the demise of 55 individuals, while 46 tigers succumbed to infighting.
  • Rescue/treatment efforts resulted in the loss of 14 tigers, and seven fell victim to linear infrastructure, roadkill, or train/road accidents.
  • Tragically, two tigers were killed by other species, and one lost its life due to human-wildlife conflict, with the forest department/police or villagers being responsible.

Conservation Context: This surge in tiger deaths comes as a disconcerting contrast to the positive trajectory in India's tiger conservation efforts.

  • The fifth cycle of the All India Tiger Estimation (2022) revealed a notable increase in India's tiger population, rising by 200 from 2018 to 2022.
  • The report, released on 2023, disclosed that the tiger population in India reached 3,167 in 2022, up from 2,967 in 2018.
  • Prime Minister commemorated 50 years of 'Project Tiger' in Karnataka's Mysuru during the report's release, emphasizing the significance of tiger conservation.
  • On the same occasion, he launched the International Big Cats Alliance, reinforcing India's commitment to global big cat conservation.

Way Forward:

  • While the rise in India's overall tiger population is a cause for optimism, the alarming spike in tiger deaths demands immediate attention and concerted efforts to address the root causes, enhance anti-poaching measures, and mitigate human-wildlife conflicts.
  • The nation faces a critical juncture in preserving its rich biodiversity, and proactive measures are imperative to secure the future of these iconic and endangered species.

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