Chamarajanagar, December 19: As many as 371 tigers have died in the country in the past five years — 119 of which were victims of poaching, a report published on the National Tiger Conservation Authority’s (NTCA) website stated.
The NTCA, in association with some international organisations, is striving to ban the trade in wildlife products. The Authority, which is conducting a tiger census in Karnataka, is also recording the exact cause of deaths of big cats.
However, the findings of the report have baffled many wildlife experts and environmentalists who have expressed deep concern about the future of tigers in the country.
In Karnataka, 59 tigers were lost during the period (2009 to 2013), including 19 to poaching and two to poisoning. In 2009, 10 tigers died and five were poached. In 2010, seven tigers died, of which three were poached. In 2011, seven tigers died, but no poaching was reported. In 2012, 15 tigers died, seven of which were victims of poaching. Till December 19, 2013, 15 tigers were reported dead, of which four were poached, the report stated.
It stated that poachers were involved in all 41 tiger reserve forests, spread across 17 states in the country. The Forest department has adopted several conservation methods and implemented anti-poaching measures, but to no avail.
Incidents of killing tigers, using jaw trap, guns, poison-laced meat and electrocution are increasing. The report said tiger body parts – nails, bones, pelts and even meat – were seized from cities and towns surrounding tiger reserves and national parks during raids.
On Thursday, big cats were spotted in as many as 10 places in the district.
Two tigers and a leopard were spotted by volunteers at Punajanuru in Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Tiger Reserve in Chamarajnagar. A tiger was spotted at Yalandur and at Kollegal forest ranges.In Malemahadeshwara and Cauvery wildlife sanctuaries, only tiger scats were found. The two sanctuaries are adjacent to the BRT reserve and act as buffer zones for the big cats.
Recently, camera traps were installed at the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary and five tigers were captured in the footage. Two tigers have been spotted at Bandipur National Park (BNP) and one each at Moolehole, N Begur, Gundre and Kalkere ranges.