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Madhya Pradesh: Tiger found dead in Shahdol, toll touches 33 in 13 months

The Times of India
New Delhi
28 Jan 2018

Madhya Pradesh: Tiger found dead in Shahdol, toll touches 33 in 13 months putting the state on the top of the list nation-wide with maximum toll.

Experts firmly believe that electrocution has become a major threat to the tiger conservation here.

Madhya Pradesh holds a major portion of global tiger conservation landscape. In the latest case, the tiger was found in a farmland at Devhara village under Jaisinghnagar region. Several teams have been dispatched to the spot to probe the matter.

"Prima facie, it seems that the tiger came in contact with a live electric wire fence and died. Teams have been dispatched. All body parts are intact," said an officer.

Officials say, to prevent blue bulls and wild boars from destroying their crops, farmers often set up illegal high-voltage electrical fences around their fields drawing power from electrical lines meant for domestic or agricultural use.

"As most of the protected areas have exceeded the carrying capacity, tigers using human-dominated landscapes including agricultural fields in search of new territories, fall prey to these fences," said a forest official wishing anonymity.

"Poaching for skin is a history in MP. Hacking claws and paws from carcasses by villagers for witch crafts is though a major concern," he said.

In some places, poachers erect live wire traps using overhead 11kv lines to kill herbivores wild animals but it is fatal to any living being that comes in contact with it. In most of the cases it was found that bare live wires were hooked up on high tension lines.

In almost all the recent cases, tigers were killed around villages near core regions where complaints of man-animal conflict and unsettled compensation claims are frequently reported, say sources.

"Farmers are concerned about crop damages by herbivores and are not satisfied with the compensation provided. Though the forest department has increased the amount, farmers feel it`s not sufficient," claim environmentalist Vaibhav Chaturvedi.

Chaturvedi said the compensation process need to be simplified and made less time consuming.

If this goes on, Madhya Pradesh would never be able to regain its status of `Tiger State` and Karnataka will continue to be on the top of the list of states with maximum population of the largest cat species, says wildlife activist Ajay Dubey.

In the past also, there had been several instances of tigers and leopards succumbing to the electrical trap — a GI wire from the 440kv service line pegged to a wooden pole.

Perturbed by the spurt in tiger deaths due to electrocution around national parks, sanctuaries and tiger reserves, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) — a statutory body under the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) — had in 2013 directed the Madhya Pradesh government to prepare an action plan which will be funded by it. MP had recorded 15 deaths of tigers in 2012 perhaps it was highest in a year. The figure has doubled up.

NTCA, in a letter, had asked the state government to prepare an inventory of forest divisions and non-forest areas having tiger presence or history of cattle depredation due to presence of the big cats. Authority had also called for assessment of electric lines passing through these areas, including tiger reserves, in collaboration with the respective state electricity boards besides transmission and power distribution companies.