Nagpur: In a disturbing revelation, it has come to the fore that a total of 17 tigers and 18 leopards have been electrocuted to death at fences erected for guarding farms in the last five years. Shockingly, all the 17 tigers perished in Vidarbha, and Chandrapur emerged as the graveyard for the big cat as most of the cases occurred here.
This was revealed in data from Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), an NGO working for wildlife law enforcement. The data says in the last five years, from 2016-2020, 17 tigers and 18 leopards were “executed” by electrocution in farm fences. The figure includes the latest case of tiger poaching at Ratnapur in Sindewahi forest range in Bramhapuri, where two persons were nabbed with two canines and 10 tiger nails.
The tiger electrocution matter has come to fore 10 days after a tigress nicknamed Mayuri went missing from the buffer zone of Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR). One of her cubs has died while two are recuperating in a treatment centre.
Electrocution has emerged the biggest threat to tigers in the region but the Forest Department has been found apathetic. A four-member working group to tackle electrocution had been constituted in June 2017 under the State’s Chief Wildlife Warden but it has gone dormant.
The group consists of Wildlife Institute of India (WII) scientist Bilal Habib, WPSI Central India Director Nitin Desai and Regional Director of MSEDCL. However, in the last three years, the group has met only four times.
According to reports, the farmers use an electric power fence by using 440-volt low tension current to scare away herbivores. But this current is enough to kill soft-footed animals like leopards and tigers which are behind these herbivores in search of prey. There are 3,000 tigers in the country but officially only 100-115 deaths are detected and reported. If the average life of a tiger in the wild is considered to be 12 years, then the number may be more, but that is not the case, reports stated.