On the brink

Published: Thursday 28 February 2002

tiger population in Maharashtra is dwindling fast. The number of tigers increased to 417 in 1989 from 174 tigers in 1979. But the 1990s witnessed a steep decline in its population. According to the latest estimate, in 1993, there were 276 big cats in the state and in 2001, they were down to just 238.

Chief conservator of forests (wildlife), Maharashtra, B Majumdar said that the decline is more pronounced in unprotected areas. However, their population is falling alarmingly in sanctuaries and reserved forests too. Interestingly, there has been a sharp fall in the number of tigers in south Chandrapur, where the ideal habitat for tigers is sited. Poaching pressure in this non-protected area has been pilng up.

Majumdar pointed out that the Naxalite movement and the proximity of the area to the Chhattisgarh border, from where poachers operate in an organised way, was aggravating the problem.

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