384 tigers killed in the last 10 years, 961 poachers caught: RTI answer
Agra: A total of 384 tigers have been killed in the country in the
past 10 years, from 2008 to 2018 (till November), and 961 poachers
have been arrested during the period, reveals an RTI reply. The information
was provided by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) to a
Noida-based environmental activist Ranjan Tomar, who had filed the
RTI query on November 12.
Speaking to TOI, Tomar said, “I will write to the minister of environment, forests and climate change Harsh Vardhan to ensure safety of tigers. This is a very sensitive matter."
Tomar said that in the RTI reply, WCCB has only provided information about the number of tigers killed and poachers arrested. "No information on conviction in tiger poaching cases has been provided," he added.
“The central government, along with state governments, without much delay, should plan and launch a campaign against poaching. Required changes should be considered in wildlife protection laws to make them more effective,” said Tomar.
According to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) records, 560 tiger deaths took place in last six years (2012 to 2017). The causes of death was identified in 408 cases, and out of this, 22% died due to poaching.
In 2017, a total of 115 tiger deaths were reported in different parts of the country. Of these, 31 were natural deaths, 15 were killed in poaching, four died in fighting and 65 died due to other reasons, as per the NTCA records.
A senior Uttar Pradesh forest official said, “Poaching is a big threat to the tiger. In relentless demand, their parts are used for folk remedies, and are increasingly used as status symbol in some Asian countries. Tigers are also killed or poached because their pelts are valuable in the black market.”
According to sources, most of the tiger parts end up in China where a single skin can sell for Rs 50 lakh. As far as conviction of poachers are concerned, only about 4% of the nabbed poachers have been convicted, a source said.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, “The tiger is a unique animal which plays a pivotal role in the health and diversity of an ecosystem. It is a top predator which is at the apex of the food chain and keeps the population of wild ungulates in check, thereby maintaining the balance between prey herbivores and the vegetation upon which they feed.”