The recent killing of three tigers comes at a time when the 2018 Tiger Census is in progress. The man-eater Avni (T1) was shot by a professional hunter engaged by the Maharashtra government, leading to controversy; another tiger was run over by a tractor and beaten to death by locals in Uttar Pradesh; a carcass found in a pit in Odisha last week has now been identified as that of a tiger, allegedly killed by poachers. Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh were among the top seven states in terms of tiger population in 2014, when the last census was conducted, while Odisha had fewer tigers. Data from the 2010 and 2014 censuses were tabled in Parliament in March this year by the Environment & Forest and Ministry, in reply to a question.
The 2014 census had counted 2,226 tigers, a 30% growth from the 1,706 counted in 2010, and the current census is being conducted amid optimism that the growth trend will continue. Maharashtra’s tiger count grew 12% from 169 in 2010 to 190 in 2014, while populations remained stable in Uttar Pradesh (118 in 2010, 117 in 2014) and Odisha (32, 28). The count increased in most states, was stable in a few and decreased in only one, Jharkhand. The highest numbers in 2014 were in Karnataka (406), Uttarakhand (340), Madhya Pradesh (308), Tamil Nadu (229), Maharashtra, Assam (167) and Uttar Pradesh.
Tip for Reading List | A Biography of Blood
British journalist-author Rose George has been described as someone who “writes smart books about subjects we mostly prefer not to think about”, and “that person at a party you might try to avoid” because of the sort of stuff that she seems keen to discuss. After writing about toilets and human excrement and exploring the dark entrails of the international shipping industry, George has now written a biography of blood. The title of her fourth book, Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood, refers to the quantity of blood the human body typically contains.
To write the book, George says, she “headed inside the body to look at blood, a marvellous substance that can kill us or save us; that is feared and revered, and always has been”. To understand the place that blood occupies in the world, she travelled to India, Nepal, South Africa and the Canadian prairies. “I explored why menstrual blood is still considered so taboo, girls are forced to live in unheated sheds when they have their periods; how modern trauma care is maybe using the wrong kind of blood; why leeches are still found in hospital pharmacies; and why thousands of people are still seeking justice after they were given contaminated blood products in the 1980s.”
She learned “dazzling facts” — that every 3 seconds someone, somewhere, receives blood from a stranger; that we have 60,000 miles of veins and arteries in our bodies, enough to be wound twice around the Earth; that every day, a trillion red blood cells travel 12,000 miles inside our bodies; and that there are more than 300 known blood types — and explored the future of blood, which she found “may be synthetic”. She also discovered “why Silicon Valley millionaires think injecting young blood will give them youth”.