The Ministry of Environment on Thursday said tiger population in the country has been taken from the brink to an assured path of recovery, which is evident from quadrennial All India Tiger Estimation reports showing healthy annual growth of 6 per cent.
The ministry’s statement comes in the wake of recent tiger deaths reported in Madhya Pradesh.
It said due to the efforts of the government through the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), “tiger population has been taken from the brink to an assured path of recovery, which is evident in findings of the quadrennial All India Tiger Estimation conducted in 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018″.
“These results have shown a healthy annual growth rate of tigers at 6 per cent, which offsets natural losses and keeps tigers at the habitats carrying capacity level, in the Indian context,” it said.
The ministry further stated that for the period from 2012 to 2021, one can observe that the average tiger deaths per year in the country hover around 98, which is balanced by the annual recruitment as highlighted by the robust growth rate.
Referring to a news report that out of 126 instances of tiger deaths, 60 tigers had died due to unnatural causes like poaching, accidents, man-animal conflict outside protected areas, the environment ministry said it can ascertain the cause of death only after a detailed analysis.
“In this light, it is pertinent to mention that the NTCA, through a dedicated standard operating procedure, has a stringent protocol to ascribe cause to a tiger death, which is treated as unnatural, unless otherwise proved by the state concerned through submission of necropsy reports, histopathological and forensic assessments besides photographs and circumstantial evidences.
“It is only after a detailed analysis of these documents that the cause of death of 60 tigers outside tiger reserves can be ascertained,” it noted.
The ministry asserted that “it is expected that the media will inform the aforesaid facts, to the country so that there is no sensationalism and citizens are not led to believe that there is cause for alarm”.
It also said that certain media reports have highlighted the death of tigers during the year 2021 in a manner which is “a lopsided view of tiger conservation in the country”.
The ministry reiterated that NTCA has taken several steps under Project Tiger to control poaching and that the reports do not take into account the “gamut of processes that go into dealing with the tiger death in the country”.
“While it is appreciated that figures as available on the National Tiger Conservation Authority’s website have been used in these reports, the manner in which it has been presented causes alarm and does not take into account the gamut of processes that go into dealing with tiger death in the country and the natural gains that have been made in tiger conservation, as a result of sustained technical and financial interventions by the Government of India,” the statement said.
“The NTCA maintains the highest standards of transparency in so far as making tiger death statistics available to citizens through its website as well as a dedicated portal, so that people can make a logical assessment, if they desire,” it said.
Earlier in the day, an official from the NTCA told PTI that the cause of the recent death of the tigers in Madhya Pradesh is being ascertained as it takes time to complete the scrutiny.
As many as 126 tigers have died in India in 2021, as per the NTCA with the maximum tiger deaths recorded this year in Madhya Pradesh (44) followed by 26 deaths in Maharashtra and 14 in Karnataka.
A tiger was found dead in Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday, taking this year’s toll in the state to 44. According to reports, a tigress died in the state’s Dindori area allegedly due to poisoning two days ago.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)