Tiger Survival Depends On India
There are fewer than 2,500 tigers left in the wild of Asia and most of them are in India. Unfortunately, the country lost 63 of them to poachers and natural causes in 2013. In 2012, the country lost 72 wild tigers. Compounding the problem, the nation lost 12,000 square kilometers of tiger habitat, or more than three times the area of Goa state, in the four years ending 2010. The two problems spell doom for the species.
This loss of habitat happened even as the number of tigers has gone up from 1,411 in 2006 to 1,706 in 2010. The first tiger death of the year was reported from South Brahmapuri forest range of Chandrapur district in Maharashtra on January 6, 2013. It was caused by suspected poachers. The last wild tiger death of the year was reported from the Heggadadevana Kote range of Mysore forest division in Karnataka on December 28, 2013. The cause is under investigation.
A good majority of the wild tiger deaths in the country, 48 to be specific, was the result of poaching, according to data on the wild tiger deaths released by the National Tiger Conservation Authority.
Old age as the cause of death was reported only in two instances. One at Similipal Tiger Reserve in Odisha on February 16 and the other at Kharangana forest range in Maharashtra on August 25. Two tigers were killed by poisoning one at Kaziranga Tiger Reserve Assam and the other at Pilibhit forest division of Uttar Pradesh.
One tiger in Gondia district of Maharashtra was killed by forest authorities on January 12, 2013 because it was a man-eater. In another instance reported on February 2, 2013, a tiger cub was killed and partly eaten by an adult tiger male in Panna Tiger Reserve of Madhya Pradesh. Another cub had died after falling off a high cliff in Ramnagar forest division.
Another tiger was killed by a train at the forests of Chandrapur district in Maharashtra and in the same incident another tiger was also injured, the NTCA reports. The highest number of wild tiger deaths was reported from Karnataka —16, followed by Maharashtra with 9. From Assam and Uttarakhand, 8 deaths each were reported. At this rate, India will lose its wild tigers within 20 years.