95 tigers died, 22 skins seized in 2016

India lost 117 tigers in 2016, says the official website of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), with ninety-five deaths so far and the seizure of 22 skins.

There has been a 24% increase in fatalities as compared to last year’s figures, which has left wildlife activists concerned. In 2015, the country lost 70 tigers due to various reasons and 10 skins were seized, making it a total of 80 tigers.

As per statistics on tigernet.nic.in, the highest tiger mortality was reported in Madhya Pradesh, which lost 29 striped cats, followed by Karnataka (17), Maharashtra (15), and Tamil Nadu (seven). Other states — Assam, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Kerala — also lost its tiger population, taking the total to 95 tigers that died of infighting, electrocution, natural causes, drowning, accidents, poisoning, eliminated by authorities, and even poaching.

Twenty-two skins were seized so far this year, with the highest number in Uttarakhand (six), followed by Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Delhi and Chhattisgarh (with two skins each). Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh reported one seizure each.

Sunish Kumar, programme officer of the Delhi-based Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), said, “We have reported 130 tiger mortalities this year. Definitely this number is an increase from the past figures. What’s challenging is despite policies and stringent laws, we are losing big cats at a fast pace.” (The Hindustan Times)

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