48 tigers poached in 6 years
22 Dec 2008, 2300 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The tiger is out of a crisis but figures show the wild cat is not completely secure in the country's forests. In the past six years, 48 tigers have been poached, show government records.
If one is to include the tigers that died due to natural reasons as well as the ones still not determined, the total number goes up to 137.
But compare this with the previous track record and it becomes evident the threat has relatively dwindled. Between 1999 and 2002, the four years saw 100 tigers killed by poachers.
The number of tigers killed between 2005 and 2008, currently assessed at 28, is liable to go up a bit as the government records claim that the postmortem reports of some have not come in to conclude for sure if the animals were poached or died of natural causes.
The numbers are a clear warning that the states need to act upon the missives from the Centre. While the creation of the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau has shored up central level vigilance, with forests and wildlife being on the concurrent list, the on-ground patrolling, management and regulation is the work of the state forest departments.
In what is still an unfinished agenda, sources point out, the creation of the core zones (the key breeding areas) and the buffer (where human presence is considered acceptable, if not ideal) has been central to better management of the tiger reserves.
Earlier, the government had come clean with the overall tiger numbers and carried out an extensive survey to admit that that the figures had been inflated and a more honest scientific projection proved tiger population in the range of 1,657 to 1,165.