'Tiger state' MP lost 290 big cats in 19 years



Madhya Pradesh has lost 290 tigers since 2002, a top Forest Department official, Alok Kumar said on Monday.

However, there are 550 big cats in tiger reserves in Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Pench, Satpura, Panna and Sanjay Gandhi Reserve and the wild, he said, adding that there are 125 cubs in the parks.

"They can't be captured as they might be deep inside the jungles. When they turn young and venture out, we would be able to see them," he added.

Kumar said movements of tigers were recorded through camera traps, patrolling and other means.

Asked about the deaths of 290 tigers since 2002, Kumar said, "As the number of tigers has risen, they are fighting for territorial control. We are losing 25 to 30 striped animals every year. Of them (the deceased tiger), 95 per cent were weak and old. While the remaining five per cent of (290) tigers were killed by poachers or in man-animal conflicts".


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"The habitat of tigers needed to be protected, and for this people need to be made aware as well," he added.

Kumar said the typical lifespan of a tiger living in a reserve is 12 to 13 years.

Responding to a query, he said Madhya Pradesh will continue to remain the tiger state of India.

"The tiger state tag pulls tourists to Madhya Pradesh. Our tourism is largely big cat-centric," said MP Wildlife Board (MPWB) member Abhilash Khandekar.

He said the state government should take utmost care to conserve its "tiger state" status so that it does not lose out on tourists and thus revenue. (PTI)