In the past 11 months, over two dozen tigers have died in the forests of Madhya Pradesh. This is the sixth time the state has topped the list of states reporting dead tigers.
Nine deaths were reported from the Bandhavgarh National Park which has prompted the Forest Minister Vijay Shah to meet with the senior officials, reported NDTV.
"Five to six tigers have died in two consecutive months. We will try to find out why it happened and will also find ways to ensure this does not happen again. We have received complaints against a few range officers and will take action against them," Shah said after the meeting.
According to the officials of the nine tigers that died in Bandhavgarh, four were killed in fights with rivals and one by a poacher and till now they have no clue how or who have killed the other five.
During the lockdown, the Bandhavgarh National Park authorities had been alerted to a possible increase in illegal activities.
Madhya Pradesh, which is said to be the home of over 500 India's tigers (according to the 2019 census only Karnataka and Uttarakhand have comparable populations) is also considered to be the state which has recorded the highest tiger deaths over the past eight years.
As many as 172 tigers have died in Madhya Pradesh forests between 2012 and 2019, 111 deaths were recorded in Karnataka and 88 in Uttarakhand according to the NTCA data.
The deaths occurred due to various reasons which include natural causes, electrocution, territorial fights, and poaching.
India lost 751 tigers and the data showed that only 374 out of them died due to natural causes, while the rest were killed by poachers, some died on-road, accidents or in conflict with villages near their forests.
The Madhya Pradesh government was directed by the NTCA in the year 2013 to prepare an action plan and establish tiger presence across different forest divisions and crucially non-forest areas so that they can manage tiger territory in a better way and the deaths can be minimised.
India is now home to over 70 per cent of the world's tiger population which is considered to be a very big responsibility and has also witnessed an increase in its tiger population in the wild, from 2,226 in 2014 to 2,967.