March 1, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

A Blog for IAS Examination




THE CONTEXT: The Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) recorded a distressing surge in tiger mortalities in India, marking a record loss of 204 tigers between January 1 and December 25, 2023.


  • This figure reflects a significant increase compared to previous years, raising concerns about tiger conservation efforts in the country.

State-wise Breakdown of Tiger Deaths

  • The state of Maharashtra reported the highest tiger mortalities, accounting for 52 deaths, followed closely by Madhya Pradesh, India’s leading tiger state, with 45 fatalities.
  • Uttarakhand recorded 26 deaths, while Tamil Nadu and Kerala reported 15 tiger deaths each.
  • Karnataka, housing a substantial tiger population, documented 13 deaths, while Assam and Rajasthan witnessed 10 fatalities each.

 Causes for Tiger Deaths

  • The causes behind the tiger deaths are multifaceted, encompassing various factors.
  • ‘Natural & other causes’ emerged as the primary cause, responsible for 79 tiger deaths, making it the leading factor contributing to the mortality rate among tigers.
  • Poaching constituted a significant threat, claiming the lives of 55 tigers, followed by infighting, resulting in 46 tiger deaths.
  • Additionally, rescue/treatment efforts led to the deaths of 14 tigers, while accidents involving linear infrastructure, roadkill, and train or road incidents resulted in seven fatalities.
  • Two tigers fell victim to other species, and one was shot by forest department personnel or killed by villagers, underscoring the diverse range of threats faced by tigers in India.

Contrast with Tiger Population Growth

  • Interestingly, despite the alarming spike in tiger deaths in 2023, recent reports from the fifth cycle of the All India Tiger Estimation (2022) highlighted a positive trend.
  • The tiger population in India exhibited growth, increasing by 200 individuals from 2018 to 2022.
  • The report revealed that the tiger count in India reached 3,167 in 2022, up from 2,967 in 2018.

Government Efforts and Project Tiger’s Significance

  • The release of the tiger estimation report coincided with the commemoration of 50 years of ‘Project Tiger’ in Mysuru, Karnataka.
  • On this occasion, the Union Government unveiled the International Big Cats Alliance.
  • Despite this positive acknowledgment of tiger conservation efforts, the surge in tiger deaths in 2023 raises critical questions about the effectiveness of existing conservation strategies and the need for more stringent measures to protect this endangered species.

Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI):

  • The Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) was established in 1994.
  • WPSI provides support and information to government authorities to combat poaching and the escalating illegal wildlife trade – particularly in wild tigers.
  • A countrywide network of WPSI wildlife crime investigators provides a constant flow of information that is processed and used to assist enforcement authorities in the arrest of hundreds of wildlife criminals throughout India.

International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA):

  • It is a proposed mega-global alliance that will work toward the protection and conservation of the seven major big cats — tiger, lion, leopard, snow leopard, puma, jaguar, and cheetah.
  • Membership to the alliance will be open to 97 ‘range’ countries, which contain the natural habitat of these big cats, as well as other interested nations, international organizations, etc.
  • The alliance’s purpose is to provide a platform for the dissemination of information on benchmarked practices, capacity building, resources repository, research and development, awareness creation, etc., on the protection and conservation of big cats.
  • Its major activities will include advocacy, partnership, knowledge e-portal, capacity building, eco-tourism, partnerships between expert groups and finance tapping.

Conclusion: Conservation Challenges and Future Strategies

  • The significant rise in tiger mortalities poses a serious threat to India’s tiger population despite previous growth.
  • This unfortunate trend highlights the urgency to address various threats, including poaching, habitat loss, and human-wildlife conflict.
  • Strengthening conservation efforts, enhancing anti-poaching measures, and fostering better habitat protection are imperative to ensure the sustained growth and survival of India’s tiger population.
  • The contrasting narrative of population growth amidst a record high in tiger deaths underscores the pressing need for proactive measures to safeguard this iconic species from further decline.


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