<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In more bad news for tigers and animal lovers in Maharashtra, the state lost yet another tiger. The big cat was killed by another carnivore in the buffer zone of the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve. (TATR).This has taken the number of tiger mortalities in Maharashtra this year to 15, which is at par with the highest toll recorded.State forest department officials said that forest department staff, who were visiting the Janala village in Chandrapur after a farmer’s cow was killed by a tiger, had chanced upon the carcass of the slain big cat on Wednesday. “The tiger may have been killed in a fight with another tiger. The slain tiger was aged around one-and-half years,” said an official. The tail and a rear leg of the killed tiger was severed from his body during the fight and some part of the body was also eaten by wild animals making it difficult to identify the gender. “The other tiger too may have been injured badly in the fight as we heard it cry out in pain at a distance,” the official added. In 2016, India lost 98 tigers–the highest since 2010 and this year, the toll stands at 79.In 2016, Maharashtra accounted for 15 mortalities–the highest so far. In 2015, Maharashtra’s tiger deaths stood at 12, up from seven in 2014 and 10 in 2013. Tiger mortalities were 13 in 2012 and four each in 2011 and 2010. As on November 17 this year, the tiger deaths in Maharashtra are 15. Since November 4, 2016, a total of six tigers have been electrocuted in the state. This includes Srinivas, the son of Maharashtra’s iconic tiger Jai, who was electrocuted to death in the Nagbhid range in April. Maharashtra has six tiger reserves, namely Tadoba Andhari, Pench, Bor, Sahyadri, Melghat and Navegaon Nagzira. According to the tiger census, results for which were released in 2014, India has 2,226 tigers, up from 1,706 in 2010. The state has around 190 such big cats, more than the figure of 169 in 2010.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the electrocution deaths of six tigers in just over a year, the state forest department will promote solar fencing of farmsteads to prevent animals from entering them. Officials note that many farmers who illegally electrify their farm fences or put live wires near their fields claim that they do so to prevent crop depredations by wild animals. However, this leads to these animals being electrocuted on coming in contact with the live wires. Since November 4, 2016, a total of six tigers have been electrocuted in the state. This includes Srinivas, the son of Maharashtra’s iconic tiger Jai, who was electrocuted to death in the Nagbhid range in April.In 2017, Maharashtra has lost 15 tigers due to various causes of which five deaths are due to electrocution.On Tuesday, senior officials from the state forest department attended a meeting in New Delhi with their counterparts from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). “We will undertake joint patrolling with field staff from the Maharashta State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MahaVitaran) to prevent illegal hooking of power lines,” said an official who attended the meeting.Another official added that based on a vulnerability map drawn up by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) for the Vidarbha landscape, areas which needed top priority to mitigate man-animal conflict will see solar fencing for farms being rolled out. This has been suggested by a three-member committee of senior forest officials. It will be on the lines of the areas around the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) where around 2,000 small and marginal farmers have seen their fields being protected using this technique. “It has turned out to be quite successful and cheap,” the official said, adding that fencing a two to three hectare area cost around Rs15,000, of which 75% was contributed by the forest department with the beneficiary pitching in with the rest. “Awareness will also be created in the farmers and offenders will be booked under the relevant sections of the Wildlife Protection Act and the Electricity Act, 2003,” he noted. However, forest officials admit that there are instances where live wires are placed around farms for poaching animals, including herbivores for bush meat. Maharashtra has six tiger reserves, namely Tadoba Andhari, Pench, Bor, Sahyadri, Melghat and Navegaon Nagzira. According to the tiger census, results for which were released in 2014, India has 2,226 tigers, up from 1,706 in 2010. The state has around 190 such big cats, more than the figure of 169 in 2010.BOX:*In 2016, India lost 98 tigers–the highest since 2010. Of these Maharashtra accounted for 15 mortalities–the highest so far. The number of tiger deaths as on November 15, 2017, stands at 78. *In 2015, Maharashtra’s tiger deaths stood at 12, up from seven in 2014 and 10 in 2013.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra’s tigers seem to be exploring a new habitat in Gadchiroli with the forest department recording the presence of around four of these apex predators in the district, which does not have a strong wildlife base.”Earlier, tigers from Bramhapuri used to come and leave. Now, they have been residing here,” P Kalyankumar, chief conservator of forests (CCF), Gadchiroli, told DNA. He noted that in the past, tigers from neighbouring Chandrapur district would move to Gadchiroli to escape temporary competition from other tigers in their areas and subsequently move back to their original habitats.Kalyankumar said they expected some adult and sub-adult tigers from Chandrapur, which houses the Tadoba- Andhari tiger reserve (TATR) and the Chandrapur territorial circle, to shift to Gadchiroli.The TATR and the neighbouring Chandrapur territorial area have a healthy tiger ecosystem. According to last year’s Phase IV camera trapping exercise, these habitats have 61 and 43 tigers respectively, the highest in Maharashtra, which forest officials admit has caused “overpopulation” and conflict between these big cats.Kalyankumar said that they had recorded the presence of around four resident tigers in the district for around four months now. “They have become residents here. These tigers are being monitored regularly through camera traps and pugmarks,” added Kalyankumar, stating that they also had unconfirmed reports of more tigers being noticed in other parts of the district like Tipagad.These four tigers have been marking their territory near areas like Alapalli (one), Armori (one) and Gothangaon (two). This includes a tigress from Chandrapur, who was captured and relocated to Chaprala in September 2016 after killing a woman and injuring three.Despite being the most thickly forested district of Maharashtra with a green cover of 80 per cent, tribal-dominated Gadchiroli lacks a healthy wildlife and herbivore population due to deterioration in protection and conservation efforts since Maoists secured a base in the region in the 1980s and tribals conducted traditional community hunting. A sub-optimal herbivore population has meant that the presence of resident carnivores is poor.”However, the prey base is good in certain pockets… like Chaprala and the tigers are residing there. This is co-related with the quality of the prey base,” explained Kalyankumar.