Annual tiger census in Sunderbans to begin from Nov 27

Annual tiger census in Sunderbans to begin from Nov 27

Kolkata, Nov 24 (PTI) The annual tiger census in West Bengal's Sunderbans will begin on November 27, a senior Forest department official said on Friday.

The tiger census is part of the nationwide census by different states having big cat populations, the official said.

The camera trap exercise will be in the forests for over a month in the Sunderban Tiger Reserve (STR) along with some contiguous parts of South 24-Parganas district in the first phase.

Some other adjacent parts of the district will be covered in the second phase of the camera trap exercise, he added.

Over 40 forest personnel and some locals will be involved in the census and they have been trained in the use of the camera technology and how to retrieve data from them.

Around 1,500 cameras have been set up in 720 strategic points to record the movement of big cats.

According to the last count, there are 101 tigers in the Sunderbans, 20 of them in contiguous areas of Sunderban Tiger Reserve outside STR.

The official said the forest department has taken steps like prevention of poaching, sensitising villagers about protecting tigers when the big cats stray into localities at times to avert man-animal conflict situations, and beefing up networks about poaching activities in their respective areas. Also, there had been regular release of deer in the forest area as tiger fodder. All these steps have borne fruit with the rise of tigers from 96 in 2020-21 to 101 till the last census.

The West Bengal part of Sunderbans is split between the STR and the South 24-Parganas forest division.

Of the 10,200 square kilometre area of Sunderbans, 4,200 square km lies in West Bengal.

The official said the accurate tiger population cannot be measured as few of the big cats might cross over to the other part but it gives an idea about the density of the big cats in the world’s biggest mangrove forest. PTI SUS RG

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