10 tigers, 57 elephants poached in three years

December 3rd, 2008 - 9:13 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) At least 10 tigers and 57 elephants have been poached in India during last three years, the environment and forests ministry said Wednesday but said the government was doing its best to protect wildlife.While poachers in Rajasthan killed four tigers, two tigers each in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Kerala fell victims to wildlife criminals, according to a ministry report.

Of the 57 jumbos killed, 22 were poached in Orissa alone. While eight elephants were killed each in Karnataka, Assam and Kerala, Uttarakhand accounted for the death of four of them. Meghalaya and Mizoram accounted for two deaths each.

What is intriguing is that elephant poaching has shown an increase with 23 elephants being killed during 2006-07 against 16 the previous fiscal year.

However, the report said there was no definite trend in the poaching activity.

“Anti-poaching activities, including special strategy for monsoon patrolling, have been strengthen by providing funding support to Tiger Reserve States,” the ministry report added.

The ministry said it had given assistance to the states for deployment of anti-poaching squads involving ex-army personnel and Home Guards, apart from workforce comprising of local people.

“Seventeen Tiger Reserves received 100 percent central assistance for the deployment of Tiger Protection Force, comprising of ex-army personnel and local workforce,” it added.

The ministry said a multidisciplinary Tiger and Other Endangered Species Crime Control Bureau (’Wildlife Crime Control Bureau’) was put in place from June 2007 comprising of officers from police, forest, customs and other law enforcement agencies to effectively control illegal trade in wildlife.

The number of tigers in the wild has been fast dwindling in India. According to the latest tiger census released by the government on Feb 12, 2008, their number stands at 1,411, a dramatic fall from 3,642 in the 2001-02 census.

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