Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh has reclaimed the status of ‘tiger state’ a decade after it lost the title to Karnataka with strength of striped big cats in the state reaching 526, the highest in the country, as per the latest census.
The 2018 tiger census was released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of World Tiger Day on Monday. Karnataka has narrowly lost the ‘tiger state’ title to MP with the population of the striped big cats in the southern state counted at 524.
Uttarakhand has trailed behind Karnataka in the field with tiger population in the north Indian state counted at 442. The 2018 census put the total number of tigers in the country at 2967.
Madhya Pradesh has added 218 tigers in its forests in the last four years, the latest census has revealed.
The spurt in tiger population in the last four years in MP is viewed as major feat in conservation, considering the disturbing trend of growing tiger toll in the state in the recent past.
According to National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), of the 657 tiger deaths reported in the country in 2012-17, MP’s share was 141, the highest in the country.
The state has lost 12,9,14,11 and 30 tigers in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively due to poaching, territorial fights, electrocution and natural causes.
The state has witnessed some successful conservation experiments contributing to the growth of tiger population in the past few years. The Panna Tiger Reserve which had lost all its native tigers in the late 1990s has now a population of over 70 striped big cats following successful re-introduction measure undertaken in early 2000.
In 2010, MP had 257 tigers against Karnataka’s 300.
“For the last couple of years, the entire forest department focused on enriching the wild outside the protected forest areas along the tiger reserves and conserving the tiger population and other animals out there.
“During counting also we focused in these areas, said Sanjay Shukla, additional principal chief conservator of forest (APCCF), MP forest department IT Cell.
“And this paid off and we stand at number one in the country now (in tiger population), he added.
Meanwhile, the Uttarakhand government said that with 442 tigers, the state stands best in the country in terms of conservation of big cats.