By Meera Bhardwaj
Since the last tiger count in 2018, Karnataka has seen many tiger deaths and most of them recorded as fight for territory or natural deaths except a few cases of poaching, poisoning and snaring.
In the last 6 months, Karnataka has lost 11 tigers and 3 tiger cubs and one seizure with Nagarhole and Bandipur tiger reserves recording most of the deaths.
All 11+3 tiger deaths occurred inside the tiger reserves of Bandipur, Nagarhole, BRT and Bhadra, as per Tigernet.
As per National Tiger Conservation Authority’s (NTCA) Tigernet statistics, India has lost 90 tigers during the same period with reasons varying from Poaching, Natural Causes and other reasons.
Added to this, during the lockdown months of May-June, nine poaching cases were registered in Nagarhole tiger reserve alone.
As per Hunsur Wildlife Sub-division, three major cases were reported in June-July. On June 15, there were major seizures of deer meat and antlers in Lakshmipura village while one hunter was nabbed with arms on 27th in Anechowkur range.
Month Tiger Reserve No of Deaths
Mar-Aug Bandipur 05+03 (cubs)
Mar-July Nagarhole 04+01(seizure)
April Bhadra 01
May BRT 01
TOTAL DEATHS 11+4
In the last 6 months (March-August), Bandipur Tiger Reserve alone has lost 5 adult tigers and three tiger cubs.
- On August 12, 2021, the carcass of a 4 or 5-year-old tiger was found near Aladamaradahalli, Elachetti beat of Kundukere range. The tiger had reportedly sustained serious injuries in a territorial fight with another tiger.
- On July 9th, a 5-year-old injured tiger that was captured died when it was being transported from Bandipur to Bannerghatta Biological Park for treatment. The tiger had reportedly sustained injuries in a territorial fight with another tiger.
- On June 15th, the carcass of a 6-8-year-old tigress was found in the Bandipur safari route near Bettadakatte. She had reportedly sustained serious injuries in a fight with an Indian Gaur which had gored the tiger multiple times.
- On June 10th, a highly decomposed body of an 10-11-year-old tiger was found in Hongalli beat in Maddur range in Gundlupet. With birds and maggots feeding on its carcass, it was reported to have died due to natural causes.
- On May 22nd, the carcass of a 9-year-old tigress was found in an Elephant Proof Trench in Nugu range of Hediyala sub-division and forest officials concluded, it had died due to natural causes.
- On March 28th, a male tiger cub died out of the four tiger cubs found in Nugu range of Bandipur. However, another male cub survived after treatment.
- On March 28th, two female cubs out of these four abandoned also died in Nugu Range. According to forest officials, the mother is likely to have abandoned its cubs due to hunger and inability to feed the young ones.
In the last 8 months, Nagarhole Tiger Reserve has lost four tigers as also the seizure of a tiger skin.
- On July 27th, a male tiger was found dead in Hebballa thodu in Anechowkur range of Nagarhole tiger reserve.
- On April 27th, a 4 or 5-year-old tiger was found dead near Balle Kere in Kanankunte beat of D B Kuppe range. According to officials, it had died in a territorial fight. No foul play was suspected as all its canines and claws were intact.
- On April 22nd, a 10-year-old male tiger was found dead at Dattahalla, Sallepura beat, Mantalli section in Nagarhole and the carcass was already 10 days old when foot patrol found it.
- On March 31st, a tiger (and leopard) skin along with snaring implements were seized in Veerahosanahalli range of Nagarhole by Mysuru Forest Mobile Squad. Out of four notorious poachers arrested, one of them had snared the tiger 6 months back in this range.
- On March 19th, a tiger was found dead in Nagarhole range.
BHADRA TIGER DEATH
In the last 6 months, one tiger death was recorded on April 30th in Tanigebail of Kemmangundi section of Bhadra tiger reserve.
BRT TIGER DEATH
In the last 6 months, one tiger was found dead on May 5th at Kottadahalla forest area of K Gudi beat in K Gudi range of BRT tiger reserve.
It is the Bandipur and Nagarhole forests that have seen the maximum number of tiger deaths due to territorial fights and other causes. Further, these forests have seen rising human-tiger conflicts leading to human, cattle deaths followed by tiger captures.
The high density of tigers has seen maximum conflict in Madikeri wildlife and territorial divisions. This is a highly fragmented habitat with coffee estates and agricultural fields criss-crossing as also bordering the Nagarhole protected area. The human tolerance to tigers (with their frequent sightings in estates) has gone with people baying for its capture and death.