Forest officials deployed in Maharashtra’s Chandrapur district found the carcasses of a tigress and her two cubs near the Tadoba Tiger Reserve in the early hours of Monday. A probe has been ordered into the deaths of the majestic cats with rangers hinting at how locals may have poisoned the animals. This instance comes less than a year after a tigress’s death by a hunter’s rifle in the state’s Yavatmal forest sparked nationwide protests.
While a preliminary investigation into the deaths of the three predators suggests that they may have been killed by locals under the Chimur tehsil, the incident only highlights the escalating man-animal conflict which has emerged from Maharashtra and other states in recent times. Chandrapur district houses the Tadoba Tiger Reserve which is home to the largest tiger population in the state. The number of tigers at the reserve doubled from 42 in 2014 to 88 in 2018.
However, with this recent attack on a tigress and her two cubs, the number of tiger deaths in Tadoba has risen to 14 just this year. Figures released by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) further show that a total of 57 tigers have died in 2019 so far. Almost half of these animals were outside of reserves and conflict with humans has been ascertained as the main reason for their deaths.