India saw record 126 endangered tiger deaths in 2021

Tiger lies on a sand road with her babies next to her
Tiger with her cubs, photo: Syna Tiger Resort on Unsplash

India’s National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) said 126 of the country’s endangered tigers died in 2021, the most since it started collecting data a decade ago. The previous highest number of tiger deaths in a year was in 2016 when 121 died.

Around 75 percent of the world’s tigers live in India. During India’s independence in 1947, there are thought to have been around 40,000 tigers, but hunting and habitat loss brought the population to only 1,411 in 2006.

An agreement was signed in 2010 between India and twelve other countries to double tiger numbers by 2022. It’s estimated that India now has around 3000 tigers.

According to the NTCA, the biggest reason for tiger deaths was “natural causes”, but many also fell victim to poachers and “human-animal conflict”.

With a population of 1.3 billion people, humans started living in areas that belong to tigers. “Tigers range over large jungle areas and find it impossible to migrate to other forests without crossing human habitations, increasing chances of conflict,” Kartick Satyanarayan, founder of Wildlife SOS, told news agency AFP.

Satyanarayan added that tigers were also killed for their skin and body parts which are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

It’s estimated that globally only 3,900 tigers live in the wild. In 1900, there were 100,000 tigers in the world. The animals are classified as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

The Animal Reader is a small independent news platform with daily posts about issues affecting animals.

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