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Media reports on tiger deaths “lopsided, sensational and misleading,” says Environment Ministry
New Delhi, June 7, 2020
Terming media reports on tiger deaths as “lopsided, sensational and misleading,” the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change said, on the contrary, a healthy annual growth rate of tigers at 6%, which offsets natural losses, was recorded during the past eight years.
“It has come to light that some section of media has presented the figure of tiger deaths in the country, in a manner which is a lopsided view of tiger conservation in the country and has apparently attempted to malign efforts of the Government of India in this regard and sensationalize the issue,” the Ministry said in a statement yesterday.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), a statutory body of the Ministry, said due to the efforts of the Government through the NTCA, the tiger has been taken from the brink to an assured path of recovery, which is evident in findings of the quadrennial All India Tiger Estimation conducted in 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018.
“These results have shown a healthy annual growth rate of tigers at 6%, which offsets natural losses and keeps tigers at the habitats carrying capacity level, in the Indian context.
“For the period 2012 to 2019, one can observe that the average tiger deaths per year in the country hover around 94, which is balanced by the annual recruitment as highlighted by this robust growth rate,” it added.
“In addition, the National Tiger Conservation Authority has taken several steps under the ongoing centrally sponsored scheme of Project Tiger to address poaching, which too, is significantly controlled as seen in the confirmed poaching and seizure cases, it said.
“The National Tiger Conservation Authority maintains the highest standards of transparency in so far as making tiger death statistics available to the citizen through its website as well as dedicated portal - www.tigernet.nic.in, so that people can make a logical assessment, if they desire.
“The presentation of data over a long time frame spread across 8 years indicates an intent to imprint the gullible reader with large numbers which may cause undue alarm. Also, not adequately covered is the fact that 60% of the tiger deaths in India are not attributable to poaching,” NTCA added.
The NTCA, through a dedicated Standard Operating Procedure, has a stringent protocol to ascribe cause to a tiger death, which is treated as unnatural, unless otherwise proved by the State concerned through submission of necropsy reports, histopathological and forensic assessments besides photographs and circumstantial evidences. It is only after a detailed analysis of these documents that cause is ascribed to a tiger death, the statement said.
“While it is appreciated that figures as available on the NTCA’s website and as provided in the RTI reply have been used in these reports, the manner in which it has been presented causes alarm,” the Ministry said.
The media reports also do not take into account the gamut of processes that go into dealing with tiger death in the country.
“It is expected that the media will inform the aforesaid facts to the country so that there is no sensationalism and citizens are not led to believe that there is cause for alarm,” it added.