In Nagpur, India the third largest city of the Indian state of Maharashtra and largest city of central India, the states wildlife forest department made a grand announcement about Tigers that tends to look the other way where facts are concerned.
The states wildlife forest department issued a report claiming that 14 tigers have died in the state in 2016.
The statement is simple, direct and to the point, except for the fact that if a tiger is "Missing" it's presumed alive and well, maybe on vacation sunning itself on some tropical beach, but India will not report it dead.
It is a certainty that come 2018 when the same department issues the report for 2017 these "Missing" Tigers will not be reported anywhere because after all that happened in 2016. Wildlife crime experts say, "It is high time the departments take a stand on this."
Wildlife Planet wrote an article weeks ago about India's reluctance to even acknowledge when a Tiger as famous as Jai goes missing for 6 months.
Related Story: Where's Jai? India's Superstar Tiger
Like Jai, other Tigers have gone missing as well. There are reports that three cubs of the Bramhapuri tigress, Alpha and Dendu from Navegaon-Nagzira Tiger Reserve (NNTR), have been missing for some time now and by not taking into account several other missing tigers, the "14 dead tigers' could actually be well over 25.
The report that conveniently leaves out all those missing tigers is claiming that various measures are working and have resulted in controlling the poaching of tigers, the department said of the 14 tigers that died this year, only 1 died of poaching, 11 of natural causes and 2 were accidental deaths.
So why does it matter?
It matters because in 2013 India claimed that over 12 Tigers were poached in the same area and now just ONE?
If this report claims to the world that their anti-poaching measures are taking effect and then receive praise for their accomplishments, then other local districts, states and countries will start leaving out their "missing" wildlife to make themselves look better as well.
If all these reports are in any way fudged for pride sake, then how can anyone be sure of what the devastating effect poaching is having on our wildlife and what areas are in need of extra attention?
If these reports are not 100% truthful then we will not be able to decide what anti-poaching tactics are really having an effect on stopping wildlife criminals.