There has been a 30 per cent rise in the population of tigers in the country and their current count stands at 2,226, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar informed the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
He also informed the House that 22 poachers were also killed last year in encounters with enforcement agencies. “There are 2,226 tigers today. In the last four years, there has been an increase of 30 per cent in their population,” Javadekar said during Question Hour.
Terming poaching as a ‘big problem’, he said this has to be stopped and the government has taken various pro-active measures in this regard. Elaborating the economics behind poaching, he said a single-horn rhino can fetch up to Rs one crore.
Responding to a supplementary, Javadekar said the government wants to make law on poaching and wildlife more stringent, and was bringing a comprehensive amendment to it.
Giving figures, the Minister said, in 2012, deaths of 89 tigers were reported but the figure went down to 68 in 2013. The numbers witnessed a jump in 2014 when 78 deaths were reported, and 17 tigers have died so far this year, he added.
K N Ramachandran (AIADMK) wondered why the government has detailed the deaths of tigers calendar year-wise and deaths of other animals like elephants on fiscal year-basis. He asked whether the government was trying to ‘hoodwink’ the House.