Karnataka has seen the death of more than 28 big cats and elephants in the last 6 months. In yet another shocking incident, an elephant was electrocuted once again in the state. The fourth one in the last six months and it happened on July 17th night at Kurubarahundi village, Omkar Range of Bandipur Tiger Reserve.
Between Jan-July this year, the death of nine leopards, 10 elephants and nine tigers have been reported. The reasons have been varied ranging from electrocution, infighting, natural causes, snaring, road kills to poisoning and hunting.
As per the tiger mortality and seizure data of Karnataka given by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)’s Tigernet, nine tigers have died inside and outside tiger reserves in the last six months. NTCA has not cited the reasons for deaths with the dead tigers including adults, sub-adults and cubs.
09 LEOPARD DEATHS IN KARNATAKA
Year 2023 has not been good for the spotted big cats in Karnataka. With human-leopard conflict rising in the state due to decreasing habitat and forest encroachments, they have come in frequent conflict with people. While expansion and modernisation of highways across the state have added to the problem, irresponsible driving and speeding vehicles on roads traversing forest areas have led to frequent Road Kills in territorial areas.
As per Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), India has lost a whopping 234 leopards this year. Further, 87 cases of poaching and seizures has been reported this year.
MONTH AREA REASONS
Jan 12 Kumta Unknown
Feb 5 Kodagu Snaring
Feb 16 Srirangapatna Road Kill
Feb 21 Chitradurga Road Kill
Feb 26 Haliyal Shot dead
Mar 17 Sakleshpur Road Kill
June 21 Kundukere Infighting
June 21 GS Betta Infighting
June 21 Kathanuru Poisoned
On 12 January, a Leopard was found dead in Betkuli village, Kumta, Uttar Kannada district. On Feb 5, a leopard was found dead in a snare meant for wild boars near Madikeri, Kodagu district.
On Feb 16, a one-year-old female leopard was killed in Srirangapatna taluk at Sabbanakuppe gate when it was hit by a speeding vehicle. Once again, on Feb 21, a leopard was hit by an unidentified vehicle and killed on the spot at DS Halli village of Chitradurga district.
In a shocking incident, a three-year-old Leopard was shot dead in Uttar Kannada district on Feb 26-27. It was shot dead as well its limbs chopped off in Murkawad range in Haliyal division. This heinous act was reportedly carried out by a sharp shooter hired by sugarcane farmers of that area.
On March 17, an unknown vehicle killed a leopard cub near Sakleshpur, Hassan district on a district road.
In a heartrending incident, three leopards were found dead in Bandipur TR on 21 June. As per officials, two leopards which were involved in a territorial fight with each other died. However, another leopard that was found dead near the buffer zone of Bandipur tiger reserve at Gundlupete was poisoned.
10 ELEPHANT DEATHS
Most elephant deaths in the state have occurred due to the continuing Human-Elephant Conflict issue. Electrocution is the major reason for the continuing deaths of pachyderms in Karnataka. There seems to be no solution in sight except for relocation and that too has resulted in tragedy sometimes.
MONTH AREA REASONS
Jan 13 Kodagu Capture operations
Jan 14 Bandipur Electrocution
April 10 NR Pura Electrocution
May 20 Kodagu (2) Killed by people
May 26 Ponnampet Electrocution
June 17 Gundlupete Natural death
June 28 Bandipur Tiger attack
June 28 Nagarhole Electrocution
July 17 Bandipur Electrocution
The year began with the death of a 20-year-old tusker during the capture operations at Atturu-Nalluru village in Kushalnagar taluk of Kodagu district on 13 January.
Further, another elephant was found dead due to electrocution in Hediyala range, Doddabaragi village, Bandipur TR on January 13-14. Another Elephant was found electrocuted in N R Pura, Chikkamagaluru in the Arambali reserve forest on April 10-11.
ACUTE CONFLICT IN KODAGU
In Kodagu, the conflict is so acute that estate owners have taken the law into their own hands. On May 20, during the night, a female elephant with a calf in her womb was killed by two estate owners in an estate near Kushalnagara taluk in Kodagu district.
This was followed by another incident on May 26, a young Elephant was electrocuted in a coffee estate near Kutta, Ponnampet, Kodagu. Another Elephant (63 years) was found dead on June 17. The body was found in Chirakanahalli village, near Gundlupete with forest officials suspecting natural death.
A female elephant, 3-4 years old was found dead on June 28 at Kundukere range in Bandipur, it reportedly died in a tiger attack. The same day, another elephant was found electrocuted in D B Kuppe village, Nagarhole Tiger reserve on June 28.
09 TIGER DEATHS IN KARNATAKA
In the last six months, out of nine tiger deaths, four tigers have died in Nagarhole while Bandipur has witnessed one death.
The rest four have died in territorial areas of the state. A tiger was found dead in Kundakere range of Bandipur TR on 8 February.
In the same month, a five-year-old tiger was found dead in a lake in Kebbeipura village adjoining Bandipur. It could have possibly been snared as a steel wire was found around its neck. The tiger had been often seen near the villages close to the Kundukere range.
MONTH AREA REASONS
Jan 9 Mysuru Unknown
Feb 7 Bandipur Snaring
Feb 14 Gubbi Unknown
Mar 20 Nagarhole Unknown
Mar 24 Pyakara Unknown
May 5 Nagarhole Unknown
June 6 Nagarhole Unknown
June 11 Nagarhole Unknown
June 19 Madikeri Unknown
In a surprising and shocking incident, a tiger was found dead at Ankasandra state forest in Gubbi Range, Tumakuru. According to WANC, Tumakuru, this clearly proved the existence of tigers in the district.
The data and statistics of both leopard and elephant deaths clearly indicate more needs to be done for resolving human-wildlife conflict issues on the fringes of forests and further,there is need for strict regulation of traffic on roads traversing forest areas to mitigate road kills.