Maharashtra lost 19 tigers in 2017 due to various reasons, making it the state with the second highest mortality in India as per CLaW- an independent forum of wildlife enthusiasts from Maharashtra, who maintain a record of every single tiger death in the country. The tiger mortality in 2016 was 16.
While the National Tiger Conservation Authourity (NTCA) portal shows only 18 deaths in Maharashtra in 2017, members of CLaW claimed that the portal had not included a tiger death on November 7 near Ambadi village in Chandrapur. "We maintains a record of all tiger mortalities within the country in a calendar year. However we do not include skin and body parts seizure cases for better monitoring and authenticity of data collected. NTCA data had some anomalies and we have notified the corrections," said Sanjeev Siva, a member of ClaW.
Founder member, CLaW Sarosh Lodhi said that of the 19 tiger deaths in Maharashtra seven were male, six were female and six could not be identified. "The biggest concern is that out of 19 deaths five were due to electrocution, which was avoidable had there been proper monitoring and two were hit and run cases," he said.
AK Misra, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF), Wildlife said that every tiger death was unfortunate but the efforts of the department towards tiger protection cannot be judged just on the basis of tiger deaths alone. "A majority of death were due to natural causes and electrocutions wee reported outside protected areas.The issue of death due to electrocution has been taken seriously and sensitive locations have been identified and regular patrolling were being carried out along with sensitising locals who set live wires to protect crops," he said.
Misra added that there was not a single case of poaching this year reported and the number of tigers increasing is itself was a proof that the big cats were being fiercely by the Maharashtra Forest department.