India is the adobe of world’s largest number of Tigers. Declining forest cover, increased encroachments, declining quality of forests, obstructions to forest corridors has resulted in increased Man-Tiger conflict.
Findings of Tiger Census 2014:
- The population of tigers in India has increased from 1,706 in 2011 to 2,226 in 2014.
- There was an increase of 30 % in the country’s tiger population compared to 2011 tiger census.
- India is estimated to be home to around 70% of the world’s tigers.
Tiger census is held every 4 years. The 2018 census is underway and the report will be available January 2019. The preliminary reports of 2018 Tiger census suggest that there is an increase in the population of tigers across the country.
Why in news?
- The tigress referred as T1 is believed to be responsible for the deaths of 13 people since January 2016 in the eastern Yavatmal district of Maharashtra.
- In one particular case, as much as 60% of the victim’s body had been consumed by the tigress.
- As a result, Maharashtra’s chief wildlife conservator had declared the tiger as Maneater and had issued an order to kill the Tiger.
- This order of chief wildlife conservator was questioned in the Bombay high court.
- Bombay High Court had initially stayed the shoot-on-sight order since the tigress was rearing two cubs but later the higher court had upheld the shoot-on-sight order.
- Activists appealed to the Supreme Court. The appeal was shot down by the Supreme Court.
Declaring a Tiger as Man-Eater
- The power to declare Tiger as Man-Eater is vested with chief wildlife conservator of the state.
- Chief wildlife conservator decides after examining the circumstances and nature of an attack to determine if it was accidental or deliberate.
- If confirmed as a deliberate attack, it requires proving that there were more than one deliberate attacks and the Tiger in question is a serial offender.
- Even if it is declared a man-eater, the first preference is to tranquilise the tiger and capture it.
- Tiger is killed when all the attempts to tranquilise fail.
Letting a man-eater continue in the wild would result in more number of such attacks. The local population would burst out in anger which may result in every tiger in the vicinity to be a potential target of reprisal. It is also not the fault of the people living around tiger forests either.
Taking out the mother Tigress would also result in jeopardizing cub’s future. History is testimony to the fact that even when orphaned cubs survive their lack of schooling turns them into unskilled and problem animals
It is heartbreaking to see that it has become necessary to lose a Tigress for no fault of its. The culling has become necessary since the threat to local communities may put the entire species in the vicinity at risk.