Could the death toll of tigers seized during raids in January rise to 35?
Claims are being made by wildlife activists in India that the two raids in Nepal conducted in January could be much worse than first appears. In the raids Nepalese police seized 7 tigers skins and 53kg of tiger bones. Activists are saying they have been informed that 140 canine teeth were included in the haul meaning at least 35 tigers were killed.
The claims are being made by former vice-chairman of Uttarakhand’s Forest and Environment Advisory Committee Anil Baluni. He says he has been told that the haul of tiger parts included 140 canine teeth and with each tiger having 4 canine then at least 35 tigers must have been killed.
Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Administration and Intelligence, and chief of the Anti-Poaching Cell, SK Dutt said he was not aware of the claims of the canines being part of the haul but that telephone communications between Uttarakhand and Nepal is not ideal.
The authorities in India don’t seem to be aware of this information. The Uttarakhand Forest department, too, has done nothing since the details of this seizure were revealed.
Dutt explained that while a team has been set up to visit Nepal as part of the investigations into the tiger poaching so far they have not been dispatched.
Baluni said, “The authorities in India don’t seem to be aware of this information. The Uttarakhand Forest department, too, has done nothing since the details of this seizure were revealed”.
Many of the tigers that pass through Nepal on the way to the markets in China are thought to originate in Uttarakhand and its tiger reserves. If the number of tigers in the 2 seizures do numbers at least 35 then this would be a devastating blow to the tiger population in the state. The last tiger census in 2012 put the number of tigers at over 235 – up from 178 in 2008.
If the claims of the canines are true and the tigers originate from Uttarakhand then almost 15% of the states tiger population could have been wiped out.