Data reveals a sharp drop in the number of Tigers in Maharashtra
The problem of poaching of Tigers is a serious issue in the country as exemplified by the Sariska (Rajasthan) where the number of Tigers came down to zero. The position is said to be no different in other parts of the country and the situation in Maharashtra was demonstrated by the reply given to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. An applicant sought information for tiger numbers in the Maharashtra state sanctuaries and national parks for the years 2009-14. As per the data provided, the number of Tigers is as under:-
· Tadoba-Andhari had 50 tigers in 2013,
· Melghat (32 in 2013 which was 76 eight years back),
· Pench-Mansinghdeo (19), and
· Sahyadri (5 tigers in 2013 which was 21 in 2010)
· Navegaon-Nagzira was notified a tiger reserve on December 12, 2013, and the number of tigers were not provided. As per the 2014 estimation done in Navegaon-Nagzira, just six tigers have been sighted.
The forest department did not share tiger numbers in individual sanctuaries claiming that though the Phase IV exercise of annual estimation with camera traps was started in 2012, the figures for individual sanctuaries may not be available. The RTI applicant Abhay Kolarkar has contended that the same appears to be incorrect as the figures are submitted to the PCCF (wildlife) office.
The exercise of estimation of the Tigers at an all India level had formally begun in 2006 and is undertaken every four years by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) & Wildlife Institute of India (WII).
· In Nagzira-Navegaon estimated 20 Tigers in 2010 which is now estimated to be just 6.
· In Bor, the 2010 estimation claimed to have 12 tigers, but the latest estimation give a figure of merely four.
· In Umred-Karhandla, officials claimed to have 11 tigers sanctuary two years age which is estimated to have just four tigers now.
Wildlife experts have pointed that there a serious problem of poaching in the area which needs to be addressed to. Poachers from Baheliya community have been said to have trafficked at least 20-25 tiger skins from the Nagzira-Navegaon region. Over 30 poachers have been arrested for tiger poaching while the department has admitted that, three tigers were poached in 2013 while it has registered at least 15 offences of tiger poaching.