In the first seven months this year, 41 tigers have died, wildlife group said.
- Awareness campaigns done across India to save the big cats.
- In January, Indian environmental authorities had claimed conservation efforts were working as the number of tigers in the country had risen to 2,226 in 2014, up from 1,706 counted in 2010.
Partial death toll proves India is not doing enough to protect the endangered predators, noting 66 tigers died during all of 2014, experts say.
According to India’s National Tiger Conservation Authority and the wildlife group TRAFFIC, only seven of the tigers died from natural causes, one was killed by authorities and the rest were illegally poached between January and August.
Those tigers died naturally this year were killed in battles, which experts say are becoming more frequent as the big cats vie for territory while their habitats shrink amid human encroachment or forest clearing for industrial projects.
The tiger (Panthera tigris) is the largest cat species, reaching a total body length of up to 3.38m (11.1ft) over curves and exceptionally weighing up to 388.7kg (857lb)in the wild. Its most recognizable feature is a pattern of dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with a lighter underside. The species is classified in the genus Panthera with the lion, leopard, jaguar and snow leopard. Tigers are apex predators, primarily preying on ungulates such as deer and bovids. They are territorial and generally solitary but social animals, often requiring large contiguous areas of habitat that support their prey requirements. This, coupled with the fact that they are indigenous to some of the more densely populated places on Earth, has caused significant conflicts with humans.
The tiger is an endangered species. Poaching for fur and body parts and destruction of habitat have simultaneously greatly reduced tiger populations in the wild. At the start of the 20th century, it is estimated there were over 100,000 tigers in the wild, but the population has dwindled outside of captivity to between 1,500 and 3,500. Major reasons for population decline include habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation and poaching. Demand for tiger parts for use in traditional Chinese medicine has also been cited as a major threat to tiger populations.
Tigers once ranged widely across Asia, from Turkey in the west to the eastern coast of Russia. Over the past 100 years, they have lost 93% of their historic range, and have been extirpated from southwest and central Asia, from the islands of Java and Bali, and from large areas of Southeast and Eastern Asia. Today, they range from the Siberian taiga to open grasslands and tropical mangrove swamps. The remaining six tiger subspecies have been classified as endangered by IUCN. The global population in the wild is estimated to number between 3,062 and 3,948 individuals, down from around 100,000 at the start of the 20th century, with most remaining populations occurring in small pockets isolated from each other, of which about 2,000 exist on the Indian subcontinent. Major reasons for population decline include habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation and poaching. The extent of area occupied by tigers is estimated at less than 1,184,911km(457,497sqmi), a 41% decline from the area estimated in the mid-1990s.
Tigers are among the most recognizable and popular of the world’s charismatic mega fauna. They have featured prominently in ancient mythology and folklore, and continue to be depicted in modern films and literature. They appear on many flags, coats of arms, and asmascots for sporting teams. The tiger is the national animal of Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Malaysia and South Korea.IMAGE/ASSOCIATED PRESS