Madhya Pradesh has lost 23 big cats in 2019, months after reclaiming the coveted tiger state tag, a recent data by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) revealed. According to the data presented on the NTCA website, 81 tiger deaths were reported in India this year, of which a whopping 23 were from Madhya Pradesh. Seven big cats died due to poaching and as many due to natural causes in Madhya Pradesh, the website stated, listing the last tiger death on December 16 in Uttarakhand.
The tiger deaths in Madhya Pradesh, possibly highest among states, might have set off alarms bells given that it had regained the tiger-state tag with 526 big cats. Madhya Pradesh was prompt in reporting each and every death whether it was of a tiger, panther or sloth bear, principal chief conservator of forests and head of forest force (HoFF) Dr U Prakasham said. People involved in all the poaching cases this year have been arrested and are being prosecuted, he added.
The All India Tiger Estimation Report 2018, which was released in July, had revealed that Madhya Pradesh was home to 526 big cats, the highest in any state. With nearly six tiger reserves, Madhya Pradesh had the highest number of tigers as per the 2006 census. However, it slipped to the no. 2 position in 2010, losing the title to Karnataka.
According to the latest tiger count, the big cat population in the country has increased from 2,226 in 2014 to 2,967 in 2018. Madhya Pradesh has to be watchful in 2020 given that it had lost its tiger tag after Panna Tiger Reserve lost its big cats to poaching in 2009.