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Madhya Pradesh roars back to No. 1 spot in tiger count


Press Trust of India Bhopal
With 526 tigers, Madhya Pradesh has regained the coveted "tiger state" tag after losing it to Karnataka nearly a decade ago, thanks to its focus on conserving the wildlife outside the protected areas of reserves.
The All India Tiger Estimation Report 2018, released in New Delhi on Monday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, revealed that Madhya Pradesh was home to 526 big cats, the highest in any state.
Chief Minister Kamal Nath expressed happiness over Madhya Pradesh regaining its numero uno position in tiger count, while forest officials listed steps taken to conserve the country's national animal.
"For the last couple of years, the entire forest department focused on enriching the wild outside the protected forest areas along the tiger reserves and conserving the tiger population and other animals out there.
"During counting also we focused in these areas, Sanjay Shukla, additional principal chief conservator of forest (APCCF), MP forest department IT Cell, told PTI.
"And this paid off and we stand at number one in the country now (in tiger population), he added.
The central state, home to nearly half a dozen tiger reserves, had the largest number of striped animals as per the 2006 census. But it slipped to No. 2 position in 2010, when Karnataka emerged as the "tiger state".
It further slid to No. 3 after Uttarakhand with Karnataka maintaining its lead in 2014 as well in terms of population of the majestic beasts.
"I am delighted today with MP topping the chart in the tiger count. We are number one in the world in regard to big cat population," an elated Nath said at a function organised on the International Tiger Day here.
"If we say that we have the largest number of tigers in the country, this would be unjust to the state. We have to say MP is number one in the world," the chief minister added.
Nath said the tiger was MPs identity.
"It is proved that the state was the best place for forests, tigers and other wild animals, he added.
Modi, while releasing the report, said the country has emerged as of one of the biggest and safest habitats for tigers in the world.
The tiger population in the country has increased from 2,226 in 2014 to 2,967 in 2018, according to the report.
Karnataka is a close second with 524 tigers, followed by Uttarakhand with 442.

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First Published: Jul 29 2019 | 9:05 PM IST

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