CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu lost 17 tigers since 2020 due to reasons including ageing, disease and infighting, and also poisoning and poaching, revealed data from the State Forest Department. The deaths are much higher in the case of elephants, and more alarmingly, most of them died of electrocution.
As per the data, eight tigers died in 2020, of which two were poisoned, while six tigers died in 2021 due to natural causes. Two tigers died in 2022, and one was killed by poachers a few weeks ago. Among the 17 tigers that died, two were young ones.
Chief wildlife warden Srinivas R Reddy said tiger deaths due to unnatural reasons have reduced in the State. “Most of the tiger deaths are due to natural reasons such as infighting, diseases, ageing and swallowing of porcupine quills among others,” he said.
Recently, the State police and wildlife authorities arrested four members of a tiger-poaching gang from northern states in Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve (STR) and seized tiger skins and other parts.
Including the 17 in the State, the country lost 394 tigers since 2020. Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ashwini Kumar Choubey informed the Parliament earlier this week that 127 of them died in 2021, and 40 tigers died in less than three months in 2023.
Madhya Pradesh – which has the highest tiger population in the country – reported highest number of deaths with 115. As per 2018 estimation, the five tiger reserves in TN have 264 tigers and significant number of these big cats are outside the reserves. The numbers were a low 76 tigers in 2006, which grew to 163 in 2014 and 229 in 2020.
76% elephant deaths due to electrocution
Between 2019-2020 and 2021-2022, as many as 267 elephants were killed in the country due to train accidents, electrocution, poaching and poisoning. Of these, 38 were killed in TN, of which 29 died due to electrocution. Also, 1,581 persons killed by elephants across the State, show data.
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