How 23 tigers died in Maharashtra, India (January to July 2021)

We have some information about how tigers died in Maharashtra, India from January to July 2021. The Chief Minister of that Indian state, Uddhav Thackeray, was answering a question about tiger deaths in the first six months of this year. He stated that 86 tigers had died across the country in the first six months of the year and 23 tigers had died in Maharashtra for a variety of reasons according to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NCTA).

Bengal tiger. Image in public domain.
Bengal tiger. Image in public domain.

The causes of the deaths, I think, are quite revealing. Natural causes accounted for 15 tiger deaths. One tiger was killed in a railway accident. Four tigers were poisoned and one died of electrocution. That makes 21 deaths and therefore the remaining three were due to poaching to the best of my knowledge.

15 of the 23 tigers were adults and eight were cubs. He said that the government of the state had taken the required steps to prevent electrocution, poisoning and poaching in accordance with the NCTA guidelines.

We don't know what that means or what happened. The electrocution is interesting isn't it? How did a tiger come to be electrocuted to death? I would love to know. It seems hard to believe that it happened in one of the tiger reserves and therefore perhaps the tiger wandered out of a reserve into an urban area. It might even have been deliberate. I doubt it but it is possible that a person deliberately electrocuted a tiger.

Poisonings are not that unusual because farmers sometimes poison tigers because they can be a problem. And the best of my knowledge on some tiger reserves there are farms and villages. And it appears that a railway line passes through a reserve although it would seem to be a freak accident. Railway lines, in general, tend to fragment the distribution of wild cat species because they present an obstacle in the same way that roads do.



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