India recorded over 100 tiger deaths in year 2020
India, Monday 11th January 2021
India lost over 100 tigers in 2020 due to various causes ranging from territorial fights, poaching, road mishaps and natural reasons.

India lost over 100 tigers in 2020 due to various causes ranging from territorial fights, poaching, road mishaps and natural reasons. According to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), the apex body formed by the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) to keep a check on the status of big cats in the country, the number of tigers killed last year was 106 while the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), an NGO working to combat poaching and illicit trade in wild animals, pegs the number at 109.

The slight discrepancy in the numbers, experts say, arises from the fact that scientifically, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact number of tiger deaths. “In the wild, the carcass of tigers can get decomposed, and sometimes they are eaten up by scavengers, too, so it is difficult to know exact tiger deaths considering the huge landscape they live in,” said Y V Jhala, senior scientist, Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun.

According to data compiled by WPSI, the highest number of big cat mortalities were recorded last year in Madhya Pradesh (31) followed by Maharashtra (20), Karnataka (12), Uttar Pradesh (10), Kerala (8) and Tamil Nadu (8). Around 30, that is a third of the total number of deaths, were attributed by WPSI to poaching and seizure of body parts of the big cats. In 2019, the number of deaths attributed to poaching was 38, the NGO said. NTCA data also indicates Madhya Pradesh (29) tops the chart as far as tiger deaths are concerned, followed by Maharashtra (16) and Karnataka (12). NTCA officials however put the number of poaching cases as seven this year, down from 15 cases registered in 2019.

A detailed analysis of the reasons for tiger mortality as put out by WPSI shows that 38 tigers died in fights with other tigers, 28 were found dead, six died during treatment and rescue operations, four died in fights with other animals and three died in road accidents. The highest incidence of poaching and body part seizures was from Maharashtra (9) followed by Madhya Pradesh (6) and Karnataka (4) as per WPSI.