Tiger state to tiger killer state: 40 big cats die in Madhya Pradesh in 14 months

The two tiger cubs who succumbed to the deadly Parvovirus on Sunday were orphaned when their mother was electrocuted by poachers in Shahdol on January 19. The two along with their third sibling were rescued by the field staff of the Bandhavgarh National Park and despite their best efforts the two could not be saved.

Madhya Pradesh takes pride in calling itself a tiger state but with 40 tigers deaths reported from across the state in the past one year or so, it is fast assuming the tag of 'tiger killer' state. The latest deaths have been reported from the Bandhavgarh National Park where two tiger cubs succumbed to the deadly parvovirus on Sunday afternoon.

The two tiger cubs who succumbed to the deadly Parvovirus on Sunday were orphaned when their mother was electrocuted by poachers in Shahdol on January 19. The two along with their third sibling were rescued by the field staff of the Bandhavgarh national park and despite their best efforts the two could not be saved.

According to Mrudul Pathak, director Bandhavgarh National Park, the Parvo virus is a deadly one and it is difficult to save tigers from it. " We tried our best but we could not save the two cubs. The third cub too is battling for his life but we cannot say anything. We are just hoping for the best," Pathak while talking to India Today said.

Just 24 hours before the two cubs died in Bandhavgarh, another tiger died at the Van Vihar national park in Bhopal on Saturday. This tiger was rescued from the Rathipura forests in Betul district on April 8. Initially it was thought that he too was suffering from some virus but a metal detector scan revealed that a bullet was stuck in his spinal cord. Vets in Bhopal operated upon this tiger but could not save him.

The forest department and state police have arrested five people for electrocuting the tigress in Shahdol on Januray 19 while five more people were arrested for killing the tiger in Betul. Similar arrests have been made in the past but there has been no effective deterrence for the poachers who have either killed or led to the death of 40 tigers in Madhya Pradesh in the past 14 months.

"The situation is grave, but in the 40 deaths that have been reported, cubs have also been included. In a tiger census cubs are not included but certainly the Betul Tiger incident was very unfortunate. And this has happened because our informer network is poor. Also the investigations that the forest department does is not up to the mark," Dr Sudesh Wagmare, a retired assistant director of the forest department said while talking to India Today.

It's not just poachers, trains have also killed two tigers near Abdullaganj about 50 Km from Bhopal. The union railway minister has talked about fencing the spots where the two tigers were killed but the state forest department has so far not been able to take any effective step.