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30 Mar, 2019

A Matter of Concern: 10 Tiger Deaths in Kanha National Park in a Year

Tiger deaths in Kanha National Park has been a recurring phenomenon over the past one year. Reports have found that the national park has experienced the death of 10 tigers. This is the prime reason because of which Kanha National Park has been considered as the second highest in Madhya Pradesh in case of tiger deaths. Even though Bandhavgarh National Park & Tiger Reserve was considered to be the first in the year 2017, Kanha Park was too facing tiger deaths in the same year. Since April 2018 to March 2018, Kanha has experienced a bigger figure in terms of tiger deaths when compared to any other National Parks in Madhya Pradesh.

Incidents of Tiger Deaths in Kanha (January-March, 2019)

The Case of Cannibalism

It was reported on January 20 that the carcass of an adult tigress was found in the Kanha Tiger Reserve when only a part of the skull and paws were found which lead to the speculation of tiger cannibalism.

The case was confirmed on February 27 when another case of tiger deaths came to light. The park patrol found the body of two sub-adult tigers in a poor condition. The reason why cannibalism was considered to be the cause of such death was that the team of forest officials spotted an adult tiger sitting on the carcasses of the two tigers.

Now the third case of tiger cannibalism which took place on March 22 in Kanha has led to a serious worry amongst the Kanha Tiger Reserve authority and the conservationists all across the country.

Incidents of Tiger Deaths in Kanha (April-December, 2018)

So, far we have discussed what the scenario of tiger deaths look like in the year 2019. Let’s take a step back in 2018 and quickly check out the cases of tiger deaths:

On April 26, a four-year-old tigress was found dead in the Khatia range of the Kanha Tiger Reserve. As the tigress had a deep cut on her back which was a clear indication that the tigress could have been assaulted by a reserve mate. This was the prime reason why the senior officer of the reserve refused any possibility of poaching. However, a wildlife activist refuted the forest department’s theory of death stating, the tigress seldom involved in any form of fights for territorial supremacy.

Moving ahead to November 21, two tiger cubs were found dead in Kanha. When sent for forensic examination it was found that the cubs were just two months old. However, the cause of their deaths was not revealed.

With this, the year 2018 has experienced the death of nearly 49 tigers in India. The highest number of deaths were recorded in Madhya Pradesh and the majority of them was in Kanha National Park.

Is Cannibalism the Cause of Tiger Deaths in Kanha or it is something else?

The majority of the tigers that were found dead in Kanha National Park were all left with the scattered remains including head, partially exposed skull and limbs. What else is needed to figure it out whether the deaths were because of the ‘tiger-eats-tiger’ theory or some other reason? Yes, it is crystal clear that some of deaths occurred was the act of cannibalism but complete research should be done in order to know the root cause of the tiger deaths. This is a growing concern and steps should be taken for the conservation of the tigers.

Is Cannibalism Really Going to Stop Among the Tigers?

We have already mentioned the multiple cases of tiger cannibalism in the past one year. It has made the conservationists and forest officials worry a little more as they have been putting all the efforts round the clock in protecting the tigers. So is this an alarming situation for an oncoming disaster? Well, we can’t say anything about it. But the conservationists and forest officers should be more vigilant and come up with an affecting solution in order to stop the cannibalism act between the tigers.

Is the Cannibalism Cycle Limited to the Tigers?

Cannibalism among the wild isn’t that uncommon- a recent report was published in Wired which went trending on social media. Species like Hippos, Toads, Sloth Bears and Salamanders have a prominent cannibalistic tendency. The reason behind their such behaviour is the high nutritional value which acts as a major driving force between the animals. Not only this, but the report has also ascribed the sibling rivalry. Also, the Australian redback spider which is a species of black widow willingly sacrifices to the female after mating so that she can devour him. With this, we can come to a conclusion that the might be a taboo among humans but is predominant in the animal kingdom which is being practiced since ages. The only thing that might leave you wondering about the case of Kanha National Park is none of the above reasons or conditions applies to the death of tigers. So, what could be the reason behind tiger deaths? Despite all the necessary resources available, these big cats are seen to be feeding on each other which is a case of concern.

What the Wildlife Experts Have to Say on This?

The forest officers are of the opinion that such incidents are a normal thing and they are trying their level best to become more aware of the battle for supremacy. However, the wildlife experts say that the field officers are not able to stop these incidents. In order to stop such incident from taking place in the near future, the forest officers should invest more time in knowing the true causes of mutual conflicts in tigers and only then the tigers can be saved. In addition to this, the park management claims that there are a lot of other wild animals including spotted deer and so there is no crisis of eating one animal over the other.

We hope that the wildlife conservation, habitat protection and other authorities in charge will find out the cause of tiger deaths in Madhya Pradesh. Also, look into this serious matter and to make sure that the incident of March happened to be the last case and we no more get to hear the news of tiger deaths in the coming days.

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