Will Karnataka pip Madhya Pradesh to be Tiger State?
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Will Karnataka pip Madhya Pradesh to be Tiger State?

July 29, 2022

Till July 15, 2022, 74 tigers die in India;  27 in MP, 11 in Karnataka

Mysore/Mysuru: Will Karnataka regain its top spot among tiger States, surpassing Madhya Pradesh? The report of the four-yearly tiger census is expected to be released in New Delhi today, as July 29 is Global Tiger Day.

National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) sources told Star of Mysore this morning that the tiger census report will be released only on Monday, Aug. 1 and meetings are underway at the headquarters in this regard. This year too, there is competition between Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. 

 India accounts for the majority of the 3,900-odd tigers that are scattered among Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russian Federation, Thailand and Vietnam. According to the all-India tiger estimation – 2018 (Status of Tigers, Co-predators and Prey in India), India has 2,967 tigers, accounting for 80 percent big cat population.

In the 2018 report, Madhya Pradesh topped the data with 526 tigers and Karnataka trailed behind with 524 tigers. Uttarakhand was placed third with 442 tigers. The total count of tigers rose to 2,967 from 2,226 in 2014 — an increase of 741 individuals (aged more than one year), or 33 percent in four years.

Forest officials said that in Karnataka, there is an increase in the tiger population by 5-10 percent. The last census used camera traps and officials are expecting Karnataka to overtake Madhya Pradesh this time. While MP has a larger area, the tiger population density in Karnataka is higher and this might tilt the balance in favour of Karnataka, officials said.

High tiger fatalities in MP

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Notably, Madhya Pradesh earned the dubious distinction of recording 27 tiger deaths in 2022, the highest in the country. Till July 15 this year, of the total number of 74 tiger deaths registered in the country, MP alone accounted for 27 of them, the data published by the NTCA on its website has revealed. Karnataka comes next with 11 fatalities.

Fears are being expressed in various quarters that due to a large number of tiger deaths, MP will lose the coveted status that it won from Karnataka in 2018. Officials said that conservation initiatives like the least human intervention in their prey and breeding areas could culminate into something good for Karnataka.

The 12,000 sq km Nilgiri Biosphere connecting Mudhumalai, Wayanad, Bandipur and Nagarahole houses the highest tiger population. The Bandipur Tiger Reserve with an area of 1,020 sq km has the highest concentration of tigers and it may record 170 to 200 tigers in the 2022 census, said officials.

The Nagarahole Tiger Reserve which has an area of 843 sq km including 200 sq km buffer forest area is likely to account for an 8 to 10 percent increase from the 2018 number of 125 tigers. This time, several mothers and cubs were spotted at Antharasanthe Range and Kabini.

Extended report of 2018

The extended report of the 2018 tiger headcount says there are 173 tigers in Bandipur and 164 in Nagarahole, a remarkable increase from the 2018 census. 446 big cats have been spotted in the Old Mysuru region in the extended report while 363 big cats were tracked in 2018.

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In addition, the Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Tiger Reserve (BRT) and Male Mahadeshwara Hills Tiger Reserve in Chamarajanagar districts will also add to the tiger population of Karnataka. In the extended report of the 2018 census, BRT has 86 tigers and the MM Hills Tiger Reserve has 23 big cats. In 2018, 55-65 felines were spotted at BRT while 23 big cats were spotted in 2018.

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