Nearly 200 tigers were killed by poachers in and around various forest reserves in the country, in the last 12 years, news that points out the danger that the national animal faces in its habitat.

Besides, 250 wild cats died of natural causes including old age, in fighting, starvation, road and rail accidents, electrocution and weakness during this period.

According to an RTI reply from the Ministry of Environment and Forests, 447 wild cats were reportedly found dead between 1999 and March 2011 in and around a number of natural habitats for tigers, of which 197 were poached.

The ministry also noted that poaching was the major cause behind disappearance of tigers from Sariska and Panna reserves.

“The cases of local extinction of tigers were reported in Sariska, Rajasthan (2005) and Panna, Madhya Pradesh (2008). As reported, poaching of tigers was the major cause of their extinction,” National Tiger Conservation Authority under the MoEF said in reply to an RTI query filed by PTI.

A highest of 36 each tigers were poached in 2001 and 2002, followed by 24 each in 1999 and in 2010, it said. Two tigers were found to be killed in poaching between January and March 17 this year, the reply said.

Whereas 20 wild cats were killed in 2003, 17 in 2009, 10 in 2007, nine each in 2000 and 2008, and five fell prey to hunters in 2006, it said.

The ministry, however, did not give details of action taken reports in the cases of poaching, saying that concerned state governments were the custodian of information.