Madhya Pradesh is witnessing a rising trend of tigers being poached by electrocution with five cats falling prey to it in 2012-13, an RTI query has found.
"According to government records, 13 tigers lost lives in Madhya Pradesh till mid December 2012, including four due to electrocution," RTI activist Ajay Dube told PTI.
However, one of the tigers was not poached, but accidentally came in contact with electric wires.
"After that two more tigers were electrocuted by poachers -- one in late December and another in February this year -- taking the total number of felines killed in 2012-13 to 15, which has raised a big question mark over their safety in the wild," Dube said.
According to documents sourced through RTI, from 1998 to 2005, four tigers were electrocuted by poachers, and during 2012-13 alone, five were killed in the same way.
In 2012, out of 13 tigers - one died of senility (mental and physical deterioration associated with ageing), four died of various diseases, three were killed in territorial fight, two in accidental death (including one in accidental electrocution) and three in poaching.
The killing of three felines in poaching was caused by electrocution, but not a single case of poaching took place within the tiger reserves, the documents said.
This new method of poaching came to light between 1998 and 2005 when the state lost four tigers (including one accidentally), three leopards and 15 other wild animals because of electrocution, according to information sourced through RTI.
Ajay said the initiative by top forest officials to review the situation twice every month in view of poaching/death of wild animals in the state has proved futile because despite that, a tiger was electrocuted by poachers in Katni on February 25 this year.
As per the RTI activist, one tiger was killed by electrocution on June 5 in Kathoutia forest range near Bhopal, on November 18 a tiger and a cow were electrocuted (which the forest department claimed to be an accident).
Besides, on December 12 a tiger was electrocuted in Umaria district, on December 26 a big cat was electrocuted in Katni and again on February 25 this year a tiger was electrocuted in Katni district, Ajay said.
Notably, of the five, four were killed in Umaria and Katni districts, which are home to the world famous Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve.
The state Forest Minister could not be contacted on the issue.