|Despite being the national animal, tiger deaths have no clear records in the country|
Image: Indian Biodiversity Talks
According to an official replay tabled in the upper house (Rajya Sabha) of Indian Parliament by Environment and Forests Minister Jayanti Natarajan, there have been 19 tiger deaths in Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand since 2008.
|NTCA Map showing tiger mortality in Uttarakhand in 2011|
However, the official database of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) on tiger mortality does not agree with it. The database which records instances of tiger mortality all over the country from 2009 onwards shows that there were 20 tiger deaths in and around the Corbett National Park since 2009 itself. Thus, the statistics presented by the ministry and the NTCA database are at logger heads when it comes to the number of tiger deaths in Corbett National Park.
As per the statistics given in the annexure of the replay tabled by the minster, there has been one tiger death in 2008 in the park while it was 6 in 2009, 2 in 2010, 7 in 2011 and 3 in 2012 respectively. However, NTCA database shows that there were 6 deaths in 2009, 2 in 2010, 9 in 2011 and 3 in 2012.
Moreover, according the reply from MoEF, there have been only two instances of poaching from Corbett national park during the period, on each in 2008 and 2011. However, according to NTCA database, there were no tiger deaths due to poaching in 2011.
Tiger deaths in Uttarakhand
According to the statistics compiled by NTCA, there have been 39 tiger deaths in different parts of Uttarakhand from January 2009 to August 23rd this year. There have been 9 tiger deaths in the state in 2009 among which 6 were from Corbett National Park. The figures were 5 and 2 in 2010 and 17 and 9 in 2011. This year, there have been 8 tiger deaths from the state of Uttarakhand till August end, out of which 3 were from Corbett National Park.
|Tiger Deaths in Uttarakhand from 2009|
Graphics by Indian Biodiversity talks
source : Tigernet
The minister has informed the Rajya Sabha that the tiger deaths in the national park during the period have been caused by both natural and other reasons. The minster’s reply to Rajya Sabha also made it clear that the country has an estimated total tiger population of 1706, as per the data collected by the population census carried out every four years.
Though it is not immediately clear what caused the figures differ and which one is correct, it is sad to see that the country does not have clear records on the mortality of a critically endangered animal which happens to be its national animals.