Over 120 tiger deaths were reported last year while 31 people lost their lives in incidents involving attacks by the wild cats in 2015-16, the Rajya Sabha was informed today. Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave said in a written reply that out of the 31 people, who died of tiger attacks in 2015-16, the highest toll of 18 was reported from West Bengal. Elaborating further, the minister said 419 human deaths were reported in 2015-16 due to elephant attacks, with the highest 92 being in Assam. Dave said of the 121 tiger deaths reported in the country in 2016, 31 were confirmed cases of poaching including seizure and 48 were due to the natural and other causes, while 42 cases are still under scrutiny. Similarly, in 2015-16, 12 elephant deaths were reported due to poaching, while one died of poisoning and 46 of electrocution. The minister said no specific study has been conducted across the country on the reasons of wild animals venturing into the human habitats. The minister, however, added as per the expert opinion and reports, reasons which can be attributed to the loss of human lives due to the attacks by wild animals include the loss, degradation and fragmentation of wildlife habitat due to increase in human population and resultant encroachment into their areas by people. This, in turn, results in scarcity of the space and food for the wildlife, he said. "Some species like rhesus macaques and nilgai have actually benefited from human modification of the natural habitats (open garbage dumps and increase in agriculture)," the minister said. He added the other reasons included "disruption and encroachment of the traditional movement corridors due to the developmental and habitat alteration and change in traditional land use patterns," he said.
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