Highlights

  • Madhya Pradesh lost 34 tigers as per 2022 tiger census
  • Karnataka lost 15 big cats
  • Tiger census conducted every 4 years

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Tiger census: Madhya Pradesh lost 34 big cats in 2022, Karnataka 15

The national tiger census is conducted once in every four years and the full report of the survey conducted in 2022 is scheduled to be released later this year. 

Facing the challenge of retaining the status of India’s “tiger state”, Madhya Pradesh lost 34 big cats in 2022 as compared to just 15 in Karnataka, its nearest competitor in housing the number of tigers in the country, according to official data.

The deaths were reported in the survey year for the country's tiger census, whose results will be announced later in 2023.

A senior forest department official said it is a “mystery” as to why Madhya Pradesh has recorded higher tiger deaths than the southern state though both had almost the same number of big cats as per the 2018 count.

Karnataka, home to 524 tigers as per the 2018 census, is competing with Madhya Pradesh (526) for the tag of India’s ‘tiger state’.

The national tiger census is conducted once in every four years. The latest All India Tiger Estimation (AITE) was conducted in 2022 and its report is scheduled to be released this year, a forest department official said.

As the country eagerly awaits findings of the quadrennial count to know which state stands where in terms of tiger population, data on how many big cats India lost in the year just gone by is now available.

Madhya Pradesh lost 34 tigers in 2022, while its nearest rival for the “tiger state” status, Karnataka recorded the death of 15 big cats, according to data uploaded on the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) website.

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The causes of these deaths were not mentioned.

The NTCA is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change constituted under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, for strengthening tiger conservation.

Total tiger deaths in India in the previous year stood at 117, as per the NTCA website.

“We (MP) have the maximum number of tigers and we take into account all the carcasses found in our state. It is a mystery for us why lesser tiger deaths were reported there (Karnataka) when the number of big cats is almost the same,” Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) J S Chauhan told PTI when asked about the wide gap in mortality figures in the two states.

He said the average age of tigers is 12 to 18 years.

If longevity criteria are taken into account, then about 40 deaths annually should be considered natural as the state had recorded the presence of 526 tigers in the last estimation conducted in 2018, he said.

In 2021, Madhya Pradesh lost 42 tigers out of 127 fatalities recorded in the country that year.

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