Facing the challenge of retaining the status of India’s “tiger state”, Madhya Pradesh lost 34 big cats in 2022, compared to just 15 in Karnataka, the state with the most tigers in the country.
The fatalities were recorded during the survey year for the country's tiger census, the results of which will be released later in 2023. According to the reports, it is a "mystery" why Madhya Pradesh has reported more tiger fatalities than the southern state, even though both had about the same number of big cats in 2018.
Karnataka, which has 524 tigers according to the 2018 census, is competing with Madhya Pradesh (526) for the title of "tiger state" in India. Every four years, the national tiger census is undertaken.
The most recent All India Tiger Estimation (AITE) was performed in 2022, and the result is expected to be issued this year, a forest department official said while talking to the media.
While the country waits for the results of the quadrennial census to see which states rank highest in terms of tiger population, data on how many big cats India lost in the previous year is already available.
According to data posted on the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) website, Madhya Pradesh lost 34 tigers in 2022, while Karnataka, its nearest challenger for "tiger state" designation, lost 15 big cats.
The causes of these deaths were not mentioned. The NTCA is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change constituted under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, for strengthening tiger conservation.
Total tiger deaths in India in the previous year stood at 117, as per the NTCA website. “We (MP) have the maximum number of tigers and we take into account all the carcasses found in our state.
According to the website, Bandhavgarh has the greatest number of tiger mortality in the country from 2012 to July 2022 (66), followed by Kanha (55). In the 2010 All-India Tiger Estimation exercise, Madhya Pradesh (257 big cats) lost the title of "tiger state" to Karnataka (300).
Madhya Pradesh was designated a "tiger state" in 2006, having 300 big cats compared to 290 in Karnataka. Officials estimate the number of striped animals in the central state decreased during the 2010 census, owing mostly to reported poaching in the Panna reserve, which lost all of its tigers in 2009.
Following a decade-long reintroduction campaign, Panna is currently thought to be home to roughly 70 tigers. In the 2014 census, MP fell to third place in the country with 308 tigers, after Uttarakhand (340) and Karnataka (406).
Madhya Pradesh reclaimed first place in the 2018 tiger census after being found to be home to 526 big cats, two more than Karnataka (524).
Uttarakhand came in third with 442 large cats. According to the most recent census report, the estimated number of tigers in India climbed from 1,411 in 2006 to 2,967 in 2018.
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