After receiving two consecutive positive reports about India’s rising tiger population, this one comes as a shock. Twenty-six tigers are missing from Ranthambore National Park, and there are no leads on their whereabouts either. Diya Kumari, a National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) member and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament (MP) from Rajsamand constituency in Rajasthan brought the matter up. She has asked for a high-level inquiry in a letter addressed to the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Prakash Javadekar. By Kumar Shree

In her letter, MP Diya Kumari mentions a report submitted to the state government which reveals that 26 tigers are missing from Ranthambore National Park. The park is located in the Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan. Speaking about the attitude of concerned authorities and officials in the matter, Diya Kumari describes it as a “half-hearted and lackadaisical” situation in her letter.

Earlier on Monday (February 17), BJP MLA Chandrabhan Singh Akya from Chittorgarh constituency in Rajasthan had also raised the issue during the Zero Hour in the assembly. “A national park is supposed to conserve endangered animals, and not lead to the decrease in their numbers,” she said in her letter written on February 19. Media houses are also trying to reach Manoj Parashar, Chief Conservator of Forest, Sawai Madhopur, for his comments. He, however, remains inaccessible.

The MP has also talked about the road ahead in her letter. She has said that the poachers must be identified and caught. Moreover, a strict action must also be taken against them to ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future.

With regards to the positive reports mentioned earlier in the story, on International Tiger Day, July 29, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared an increase in the tiger population of India from 2,226 in 2014 to 2,967 in 2019.

Before this, a picture shared by IFS officer Parveen Kaswan showed a tigress strolling with her five cubs from the Terai region of northern India and southern Nepal. “This is [a] magical picture. Count the #cubs with #tigress. I know for a reason how [only] few people will be elated after seeing this. Efforts are helping in making this species bounce back from verge of extinction. PC Siddharth Singh. Magical Terai,” wrote Parveen while sharing the picture on his account.

Related: This Touching Photo Instills Hope About India’s Rising Tiger Population