302 people died in tiger attacks in 5 years: Government data

While 112 people died in tiger attacks in 2022, 59 died in 2021, 51 in 2020, 49 in 2019 and 31 in 2018, the government told the Lok Sabha.

BySouth First Desk

Published Dec 22, 2023 | 7:11 PMUpdatedDec 22, 2023 | 7:11 PM

A tiger caught by a camera trap in the Periyar Reserve. The River Pamba is a major source of water for wild animals. (Supplied)

A total of 302 people died in tiger attacks in the country over the last five years with Maharashtra accounting for over 55 percent of these deaths, according to official data.

The Union government has disbursed ₹29.57 crore as compensation to the families of the victims.

While 112 people died in tiger attacks in 2022, 59 died in 2021, 51 in 2020, 49 in 2019, and 31 in 2018, the government told the Lok Sabha earlier this week.

The deaths

During this period, Maharashtra alone recorded 170 such deaths — 85 in 2022, 32 in 2021, 25 in 2020, 26 in 2019, and two in 2018.

Uttar Pradesh reported 39 deaths due to tiger attacks in the last five years — 11 each in 2022 and 2021, four in 2020, eight in 2019, and five in 2018.

In West Bengal, 29 people died. However, this number has steadily decreased over the years, from 15 in 2018 to just one in 2022.

The data showed an increase in tiger attack-related deaths in Bihar — zero in 2019, one in 2020, four in 2021, and nine in 2022.

The number of tigers in India increased from 2,967 in 2018 to 3,682 in 2022, an annual rise of 6 percent, according to government data released in July this year.

With a 50 percent increase in the last four years, Madhya Pradesh has the maximum number (785) of tigers in the country, followed by Karnataka (563), Uttarakhand (560), and Maharashtra (444).

Also Read: Wayanad’s ‘man-eater’ becomes Thrissur Zoo’s newest member

‘Man-eater’ captured in Kerala

A 13-year-old tiger that was captured from Poothadi village in Kerala’s Wayanad district on 18 December, on the suspicion that it had killed a farmer 11 days ago, has become a member of the newly-developed Thrissur Zoological Park at Puthoor.

The same tiger — codenamed WWL-45 — had killed 36-year-old farmer M Prajeesh at Koodallur near Vakeri. Prajeesh’s partially eaten body was found on 9 December, claimed locals.

The situation remained tense as locals demanded the killing of the tiger and forest officials clarified that the norms did not allow the killing of a captured animal.

Officials said that the tiger was trapped in one of the seven cages set up in the locality. The tiger had walked into the cage set up on a coffee plantation, close to where Prajeesh’s body was found.

Following Prajeesh’s death, an order was issued to kill the tiger if it could not be caught alive. The order was issued based on the demand of the residents, mostly farmers. The residents claimed that the tiger had been roaming the locality for a long time.

Also Read: Life in the shadow of sabre-toothed predators

(With PTI inputs)