Panna National Park, one of India’s main tiger reserves and part of the country’s efforts to save the Royal Bengal tiger from extinction, has no tigers left, the BBC reported. Poachers are believed to be responsible. The state minister of forests in Madhya Pradesh, Rajendra Shukla, said that the park had 24 of the animals three years ago.
While wildlife department officials said there was no “explicable” reason for the decline, a report by the central forest ministry said “warning bells were sounded regularly for the last eight years” about Panna.
The tiger reserve is the second in India — after Sariska in Rajasthan – in which tiger numbers have fallen to zero. There have been reports that another national park in Madhya Pradesh, Sanjay National Park, also has no remaining tigers. Sanjay, too, was included in the tiger conservation project three years ago, and had a population of 15 tigers until the late 1990s.
Of the more than 1,400 tigers in the country, 300 live in Madhya Pradesh, in central India. A century ago, India had 40,000 tigers, but the numbers have fallen because of hunting and poaching.
MK Ranjitsingh, a member of National Wildlife Advisory Board, said the authorities must prevent poachers’ activities in the parks, stop the export of tiger products and lobby for international pressure on nations that are the main buyers of such goods. There is believed to be huge demand for tiger bones, claws and skin in China, South Korea and elsewhere.
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