By Vijay Pinjarkar
With 46 tiger deaths in just 7 months this year in the country, most of them due to poaching and several shrouded in mystery, the Global Tiger Day on Monday will be celebrated under a dark shadow.
Looking at the startling revelations by organized tiger poachers, arrested recently near Nagpur and Amravati, the tiger death figures may even be more than 46. A gang of five Bahelia poachers, currently in magisterial custody at Nagpur, has claimed that other gangs have killed at least 11 tigers. These skins were sold to Sarju Bagdi, a tiger skin and body parts trader from Haryana/Delhi, near Nagpur in April and June this year. However, Maharashtra forest officials are investigating only 5 tiger skins, others have not been recorded officially.
Global Tiger Day, celebrated every year on July 29, is relatively new, first initiated at the global tiger summit at St Petersburg (Russia) in 2010. The primary aim is to draw world's attention to the plight of tigers, but it is a low key affair in the region, which otherwise should be a mega event considering the 'Gateway to tiger capital' status.
The day is celebrated by 13 range countries - India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia (Sumatra), Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, Vietnam, and perhaps North Korea.
In the last seven months, from January 6 to July 16, 46 tigers have died in India, compared to 72 in all of 2012. Of the 46 deaths, at least 15 have died of poaching, while several deaths are shrouded in mystery and still under investigation. Twelve 12 tiger deaths were recorded in Karnataka, followed by eight each in Maharashtra and Uttarakhand. More....