Madhya Pradesh Reattains ‘Tiger State of India’ Tag Amidst Rising Death Toll of the Endangered Species
India is home to a plethora of wildlife species and the national animal, the Bengal tiger is the most prized possession of this land. India has 50 tiger reserves spread across 18 states, preserving 80% of the total global tiger population. Four years ago, India had an estimated number of 2,226 tigers on its land and that number has increased gradually over the years.
The All India Tiger Estimation Report 2018, which was released on International Tiger Day this year, has reported a total of 2,967 big cats in the country. The state of Madhya Pradesh has reclaimed its coveted status of ‘Tiger State of India’ with the highest number of 526 tigers in total which apparently was 308 in 2014. MP is followed closely by Karnataka with 524 tigers in its forest reserves, while Uttarakhand holds the third rank with 442 tigers.
Ironically the state has lost 5 tigers since it got its status back as the Tiger State of India. Recently a four-month-old cub died after mother tigress abandoned it. According to the official sources at the reserve, the tigress left the cub because of its deteriorating health. It is the fifth tiger death since July 29, which includes three cubs. Evidently, the state holds a poor record in terms of tiger safety.
There has been a decline in the population of this endangered species globally and India is no exception. The records show an alarming increase in the death toll since the beginning of this century. Some died of natural causes and many lost their lives to man’s greed and fear.
Likewise, Madhya Pradesh lost its coveted tag of Tiger State of India to Karnataka about a decade ago due to the constant tiger deaths in the state.
According to National Tiger Conservation Authority / Project Tiger, 655 tigers died in India between years 2012-2018; few died natural deaths, others were killed by poachers, electrocuted or poisoned. The proud tiger state of India has lost 23 tigers since October 1, last year. Last year in India, 49 tigers lost their lives in total and the highest number was reported in MP.
Out of all the total tiger reserves, MP has the highest number of six reserves, followed by Maharashtra, Karnataka and Assam. The state and central government both are working hard toward tiger safety as many laws have been implemented against tiger killing in the country and the sanctuaries are providing them a safe habitat. After the census was revealed, Prime Minister Modi said that India is the biggest and safest abode for the tigers.
However, these conservation efforts are getting neutralized due to the demand of tiger skin and other body parts of the animal; the poachers have been violating the laws for many years now. The lack of knowledge and a stronghold of fear acts as a catalyst in many killings.
In many cases, the animals die because of the carelessness and the irresponsible behavior of the forest department and officials at animal reserves.
The government needs to act fast and strictly on the wildlife laws to protect this majestic animal. Where the whole country is happy about the increased number of these big cats, many wildlife enthusiasts demand safety for these animals. According to a wildlife fan, MP had over 1 lakh tigers back in the 19th century and the recent census is not a matter of pride.
The world needs to protect and preserve this endangered species. Strict measures must be taken against tiger killings. Otherwise, our next-generation would be reading about tigers as the extinct species.