Tamil Nadu: Nilgiris tigers died due to natural causes, says NTCA report
There was nothing alarming about the recent death of tigers – 10 of them had died between August 16 and September 19 – in the Nilgiris if one were to take into account the current population growth and the dispersal dynamics in the landscape, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) said in its report.
The report released on Friday said the survival rate of tigers was highly dependent on population density and an adult tigress delivered 2-3 cubs (sometimes as many as 5) in one litter with 50% cub mortality, attributed to several factors like disease, starvation, and infanticide.
A possible reason for the death of 2-week-old cubs in the Segur area could be the weaker health condition of both cubs (at least one), leading to abandonment by the mother in order to conserve energy to raise fit individuals in the subsequent litter. Additionally, the early age of cub delivery (inexperienced mother) can be also one of the reasons for litter abandonment,’ it said.
NTCA is an apex body under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) that provides guidelines to tiger reserves in India regarding the protection of tigers and management of Tiger Reserves.
It observed that the four cubs that died in Chinna Coonoor area were two months old and might have died due to prolonged starvation as the mother would have left them unattended for various reasons.
The death of two other tigers at Nadivattam and Karkudi were due to infighting, which was a common event for any territorial large carnivore that depended on population demography such as density, sex ratio, and resources as well as mate availability.
The death of two male tigers in Avalanche was a clear case of poisoning, a retaliatory killing by the aggrieved person (who has already been arrested by the department), the report added.