237 tigers died in 2 yrs, 23% in poaching: Govt
As many as 237 tigers died in the country in last two years, the Government said on Friday. Also 23% of total deaths from 2012 to 2017 were due to poaching.
However, the Government asserted that unnatural deaths “have not had an impact on tiger numbers which are growing at the rate of 5.8 per cent per annum”.
“In 2016, 122 tigers died across the country while 115 died in 2017,” Minister of State for Environment Mahesh Sharma told Lok Sabha in a written reply.
He said during 2012-17, 55 per cent of the tiger deaths were due to natural causes while 7 per cent were due to unnatural causes not attributable to poaching.
He said 23 per cent (of tigers) died due to poaching while 15 per cent have been tiger body part or derivative seizures.
He said the Government through Project Tiger and National Tiger Conservation Authority, has taken a number of initiatives towards anti-poaching operations.
These include creation of Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF), formulation of Security Plan guidelines which form part of the overarching Tiger Conservation Plan (TCP), development of a security audit framework and creation of an online wildlife crime database. Asked whether the Government has assessed the impact of such unnatural deaths on the growth of the number of tigers, he said, “Unnatural deaths have not had an impact on tiger numbers which are growing at the rate of 5.8 per cent per annum.” He said the National Tiger Conservation Authority has a collaborative project with the Wildlife Institute of India to customize drones for various tasks including surveillance in 13 tiger landscapes.
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