Rebuttal to the news item published in Rajasthan Patrika dated 09.11.2022 titled as “Bharat Baghon ki taskari ka gadh’’

New Delhi : A news item titled “Bharat baghon ki taskari ka gadh’’ has been published in Rajasthan Patrika on 9th November, 2022. The said news report is based on incorrect facts, figures and misleading information published with the sole intention of creating sensational news. It further relies on certain reports which make unrealistic assumptions like reported seizure data is correct and the seized tiger parts are genuine for deriving tiger mortality numbers.

These assumptions are flawed for the simple reason that there are certain communities in India that specialize in making fake tiger claws using the bones of livestock. Counting seized materials like claws as that of tiger without verifying the genuineness using DNA based techniques will often lead to inflated number of tiger deaths.  Such reports are published with half-baked information by the vested interests to malign the efforts of Government of India for tiger conservation.

The systematic data of tiger mortality is being maintained by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) from the year 2012 onwards only and any report quoting tiger mortality details prior to 2012 has to  invariably depend upon on unverifiable facts/ assumptions and anecdotal evidences.

For the period 2017-2021, NTCA has recorded 547 tiger mortality instances out of which 393 tigers were due to natural causes, 154 cases pertain to poisoning (25), snaring (9), shooting/elimination (7) with seizures (55), electrocution (22) and cases recorded as poaching (33). The actual number of tiger deaths which can be attributed to poaching for illegal body parts and wildlife trade in the strictest sense are 88 which accounts for 16% of total number of tiger mortality events recorded during the last 5 years.

The All India Tiger Estimation, a science based monitoring program for tiger, co-predators and their prey base which is under implementation since 2006 has estimated the growth rate of Indian tigers at 6% per annum. This natural growth rate of tiger population offsets the tiger mortality due to various causes including poaching. Moreover, high tiger density areas record higher deaths as obvious natural processes are prevalent. 

For recording tiger death, the NTCA has established stringent standards and probably the only tiger range country in the world to do so. A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has been developed for disposal of tiger carcass which includes constitution of a committee to oversee the post mortem and subsequent disposal of carcass by burning. The visceral organs are preserved for forensic examination. Based on the detailed final report, supporting evidences/ documents submitted by the Tiger Reserves/ Tiger Range States, the cause of tiger death is ascertained at NTCA and the mortality case is recorded closed accordingly.

The Project Tiger Division and NTCA under Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change are committed towards protecting tiger, India’s iconic species, through law enforcement, enhanced protection of tiger reserves using advanced technological tools.

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