Karnataka Or Madhya Pradesh ?
Once again, the pursuit for the crown of 'The Tiger State' is on. During the last tiger census that was conducted in theyear 2011, Madhya Pradesh (M.P.) lost this tag to Karnataka. In 2011, the count of the big cats in M.P decreased to 257 from 300. On the other hand, the tiger populace at Karnataka went up to 300, and thus the state had 'all the marbles'. Nonetheless, this time the forest officials of M.P. are confident that their state will earn its spurs.
The Battle for the Tiara
Present Status of the Competing States
It seems like Madhya Pradesh is having an edge over Karnataka. As per the latest official statistics, in three years over a dozen big cats have disappeared from Karnataka. While on the contrary, the level of conservation efforts in M.P. has witnessed an upward graph.
"There has been an increase in the number of tigers at Panna and Kanha Tiger reserves and their population may be close to 300 in the next census," statement from the sources of the forest department.
This statement certainly earns a point for M.P.
Conservation Efforts Made in Karnataka
Karnataka State Forest Department along with various other authorities working for the welfare of wildlife initiated several conservation projects in the state. Some of them are listed below:
- Tiger conservation in Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary
- Community leadership for tiger conservation: Building local community support for tiger conservation
- Monitoring of tiger and its habitat in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve
- Wildlife conservation outreach
All these projects together with several other protection efforts contributed a lot towards the conservation of striped cats in the tiger reserves and national parks of Karnataka.
Conservation Efforts Made in Madhya Pradesh
From the day when M.P. lost its tag of 'The Tiger State', the state made concentrated efforts to improve its conservation strategies. The first step towards conservation started with proper management and it included the following points:
- Enhancing the natural habitats (including boosting the water sources, eradicating weeds and restoringthe grasslands)
- Developing the infrastructure for communication and protection purposes
- Bringing up more stringent patrolling and anti-poaching activities
- Bringing down the man-animal conflicts
- Vaccinating the domestic cattle that wander in and around the protected areas (for preventing contagious diseases)
- Apposite management for tourism
Owing to all these efforts, the national parks of Madhya Pradesh have seen a significant rise in the populace of the royal cats.
Good News: In August 2013, Panna National Park, Madhya Pradesh was filled with the roar of six new born tiger cubs.
What led to the decreased count of the royal predators inMadhya Pradesh during the Tiger Census 2011?
The Tiger Census 2011gave a reason tocelebrate to the wildlife lovers. There was 12 percent increase in the number of the royal cats, the figure raised from 1,411 to 1,706. However, Madhya Pradesh was not the part of this celebration as the tiger populace in the state decreased terribly.
Panna and Kanha Tiger Reserves lost 24 and 25 big cats respectively. As per the forest officials, this decline was caused by the rising poaching activities. On the same hand, the officials also felt that there would have been some error in the database and it must be re-checked.
The reason may vary, but the consequence was same - a fall in the number of tigers.
On one hand where Minister for Forest, Ecology and Environment, B Ramanath Rai is certain about Karnataka having the upper hand, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), GS Prabhu is more concerned about retaining the tiger count than the tag. However, which of the two states will carry the day can only be known after the announcement of the census results. Right now both of them are putting their best foot forward for winning the title of 'The Tiger State'. The best part is that irrespective of who would be the winner; the nation will have a reason to rejoice with the increased count of the big striped cats.