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.


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.


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.


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.


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.