Over 300 tigers lost their lives in and outside various reserves in the country in the last decade, an RTI query has revealed.
Out of a total of 337 big cats, which died due to poaching, infighting, accidents and old age among others, a highest of 58 were found dead in 2009, followed by 56 in 2011, 36 in 2008 and 28 each in 2007 and 2002, the RTI reply said.
A total of 17 tigers, including cubs, were found dead in 2005, 16 each in 2003 and between January and March this year, and 14 in 2006, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) said in reply to the RTI query.
According to the data, as many as 68 tigers were victims of poaching during the period. Besides, others had died of natural causes including old age, starvation, road and rail accidents, electrocution and weakness.
Interestingly, there were about a dozen incidents in which the cause of tiger deaths "could not be ascertained".
A highest of 14 tigers were poached in 2010, 13 in 2009, 11 in 2011, nine in 2002, six each in 2007 and 2008, five in 2006, three in January and March this year and one in 2004. Surprisingly, postmortem reports in two tiger deaths reported in 2003 were still awaited, it said.