Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Prime Minister Narendra on Sunday will release the latest tiger census data on the occasion of 50 years of 'Project Tiger', but the question bothering here is whether Madhya Pradesh will be able to retain the tag of 'Tiger State'.
The state has registered the highest growth of big cats in the past one decade. Madhya Pradesh had won back its 'Tiger State' stripes in the All India Tiger Estimation Report 2018 by a difference of just two tigers -- 526 to Karnataka's 524.
Now, forest officials claim that the number of tigers in Madhya Pradesh has crossed 700, which means that the state has registered around 175 new big cats in the last five years. Forest officials claimed that in 2000 when Chhattisgarh was carved out, Madhya Pradesh had around 250-300 tigers.
At that time, the tiger census was done on the basis of their footmarks count, which had always been questionable. Now, new technologies like the radio collar system and close monitoring as well as high visibility have brought more authenticity.
Big cats are residing in all National Parks in MP
J.S. Chouhan, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests of Madhya Pradesh, said, "In the past one decade, Madhya Pradesh has not only witnessed the highest growth in the number of tigers, but a lot of transformation has taken place. It can be judged the way big cats are not only residing in the tiger reserves but in all national parks in Madhya Pradesh. We are hopeful that Madhya Pradesh will retain the tag of tiger state," Chouhan said.
At present, Madhya Pradesh has six tiger reserves, namely -- Pench Tiger Reserve, Kanha Tiger Reserve, Panna Tiger Reserve, Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, Satpura Tiger Reserve and Sanjay Dubri Tiger Reserve.
Beside these, the state has 35 wildlife sanctuaries and all these sanctuaries are ideal places to witness the imposing beauty of the forest and wilderness of the national parks.
MP also recorded highest mortality rate
But, on the other hand, state has also registered the highest death of tigers in the last few years. As per the forest officials, around 35-40 tigers were reported dead every year in Madhya Pradesh, and most of them were unnatural deaths. These dispersing tigers often ended up falling victim to wire traps, poachers and human-animal conflicts.
According to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Madhya Pradesh has lost 270 tigers since 2012. Forest officers, however, say it's unlikely, pointing out that there are more tiger births than deaths here.
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