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Forest dept to bring out publication on census of animals inhabiting N Bengal

Kolkata: For the first time, the state Forest department, in coordination with the Union department of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, is coming out with a publication on the census of the wide variety of animals that inhabit the forests of North Bengal.
The exercise, that had started sometime in the middle of 2017, has already come to an end and the process of compilation of data is going on in full swing. "The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) will come out with a publication on the animal census, following which the state Forest department will also release a book on the findings," said Ravi Kant Sinha, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Wildlife and Chief Wildlife Warden, Bengal.
Census for animals like rhinoceros and elephants are conducted almost every year in the forest areas of North Bengal. Earlier, tiger census had been held in the Buxa forest. However, there has hardly been any attempt to have a comprehensive survey and subsequent release of data of the rich variety of animals that inhabit the forests of North Bengal that cover Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar districts.
The state Forest department had planned to cover the forests of Darjeeling Hills in the survey. However, they were compelled to shelve the plans, owing to the shutdown in the Hills that lasted for more than 100 days, thanks to the movement of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, who had demanded a separate state.
"We had very little time, in which we have done a prey based survey of the animals in the Darjeeling Hills. Next year when we take up the survey, we will do it in a comprehensive manner," a senior official of the state Forest department said.
Some of the animals that have been spotted, include the Asian Golden Cat - also called the Asiatic Golden Cat and Temminck's cat, Marbled Cat - which has been listed as a Near Threatened species on the IUCN Red List and Asiatic Wild Dog - popularly known as Dhol, which has been categorised as Endangered in the IUCN Red List.
"It is for the first time ever that we have got evidence of the Crab Eating Mongoose, which also features in the Endangered list of IUCN," the senior official said. Various types of deer and Yellow Throated Marten have also been spotted.
The Forest department has also started organising bio-diversity camps in North Bengal, for arousing interest among researchers in wildlife. A camp has already been held at Neora Valley. "After the monsoon, similar camps will be held at Singalila and Sinchan Wildlife Sanctuaries," Sinha said.

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