Hyderabad: The Adilabad tiger found dead in Chennur reserve forest area on Saturday was the 86th tiger killed this year indicating that the big cat’s mortality has increased more than 25 per cent in 2016 when compared to previous year.
This number excludes the tiger skins seized.
According to tiger.net, a directory of tigers and other wildlife mortality, and the database of the National Tiger Conservation Authority, a statutory body under the Union ministry of environment and forests, if skin seizures are included then the number of tigers killed in 2016 till date will be 107.
Most killings are either due to poaching or electrocution. Forest officials confirmed that the tiger found in Chennur was killed by wild boar poachers. They have taken six tribals including a juvenile into custody.
The big cat loss in Chennur forest highlights that the state forest department’s failure on two fronts. It failed to protect tigers migrating from neighbouring habitats of Maharasthra; second, it failed to prevent man animal conflict.
In 2015, 70 tigers were killed and 10 tiger skins seized. On November 22 in 2016, authorities seized tiger skin at Ettiguda, Bejur range, Kagaznagar division of the Kawal tiger reserve.
Mr V. Tirumala Rao, DFO of Chennur division in Mancherial district, said, “The tiger was killed by poachers belonging to local the tribal community. This was not done for crop protection. It is a clear case of poaching actually meant for smaller wild animals wherein the six members were involved. They hunt for wild boars and rabbits by setting up live wire from a KV line. The incident must have happened 10 days ago and they buried the carcass and all the tiger claws and teeth and skin are intact. They were afraid.”
He added, “The Chennur reserve forest area falls in the tiger corridor between Maharashtra and Kawal tiger reserve where tigers migrate. Twenty days ago I asked all the staff to keep vigil and create awareness but this incident happened. We will be more vigilant.”
According to the Union ministry of forest and environment it has been estimated that in India there around 2,226 tigers (range 1,945 to 2,491) with a 30 per cent increase in tiger numbers in 2014 when compared to 2010. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana according to 2014 census were considered to be having 68 tigers but the numbers have gone up now according to experts.
For AP around `173.4 crore was released under Centrally sponsored scheme in 2016-17 whereas Telangana state got around `239.2 crore for tiger conservation. Despite growing tiger numbers, the Centre has categorically said that no proposal has been received from any state government including Telangana and AP for additional funds.
Hyderabad Tiger Conservation Society founder Imran Siddique said, “The tiger that was killed in Adilabad had migrated in April this year from Maharashtra. It was three years old. Another tiger that came in and dislodged this tiger. This is the third tiger killed in Adilabad and surrounding areas in the past four years due to electrocution. Government and forest department should have acted on the issue of electric wires. Government’s nod for killing wild boar has sent a wrong message that wild life can be targeted in the name of crop protection.’’
Telangana Chief Wild Life Warden P.K. Jha said, “The Adilabad incident was not for tiger poaching as all its parts are intact. There are incidents of humans losing lives due to wire. Habitat loss is one of the biggest issues we are facing.’’
Electric fencing, a threat to animals
Electric wire fencing set up by farmers poses a big threat to all wildlife including tigers. Wild boar culling failed to take off forcing farmers to put snares and fences with live wires for the crops to prevent damages.
While they are laid for wild boars, other species like tiger and panther too are killed. Forest officials say the order to shoot wild boar was put in abeyance following controversy over selection of shooters.
National Biodiversity Authority and Telangana State Biodiversity Board member Rajeev Mathew said, “We are losing endangered spe-cies due to wild boar, monkey and peafowl menace. Farmers poison the grain, use electric fence and lay nooses made out of clutch wire to save crop.”
He said the growing number of man-animal conflicts should be addressed. “Viable, techniques with some measures of wild boar population control should go a long way in tackling the problem and bring relief to endangered species like tigers, leopards and guar.”