In preparation for the annual tiger census set to commence on November 27, the West Bengal Forest Department is gearing up for an extensive camera trap exercise in the Sunderban Tiger Reserve (STR) and adjoining areas.
This critical initiative is part of a nationwide endeavor involving different states with significant tiger populations.
The camera trap deployment, spanning over a month, will cover the Sunderban Tiger Reserve along with contiguous regions of the South 24-Parganas district in two distinct phases. Trained personnel, comprising over 40 forest officials and local participants, will play a pivotal role in the census, utilizing advanced camera technology strategically positioned at 720 key locations to monitor the movement of big cats.
Recent data indicates that the Sunderbans is home to 101 tigers, with 20 of them residing in areas adjacent to the STR. To enhance tiger conservation efforts, the forest department has implemented measures such as anti-poaching initiatives, community awareness programs to educate villagers on safeguarding tigers, and strengthening anti-poaching networks in respective areas. Additionally, regular releases of deer into the forest have served as essential tiger fodder.
The successful implementation of these conservation strategies is evident in the positive shift in tiger numbers, rising from 96 in 2020-21 to the current count of 101 as per the last census. Sunderbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest, has a unique ecosystem, with the West Bengal portion divided between the STR and the South 24-Parganas forest division.
Covering 4,200 square kilometers of the overall 10,200 square kilometers of the Sunderbans, the West Bengal segment plays a crucial role in maintaining the delicate balance of the region’s biodiversity.
While the exact tiger population may be challenging to ascertain due to potential crossovers between different parts of Sunderbans, the census provides valuable insights into the density of these majestic big cats in this globally significant mangrove habitat.
Stay tuned for updates on the findings of this upcoming tiger census, shedding light on the conservation status of tigers in the Sunderbans.