Int'l Tiger Day: Measures in place to augment tiger population, says CM
Kolkata: The tiger population in the Sunderbans have gone up to 88 from 76 in 2014. The tiger census for the entire country that was released by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on Monday to mark the occasion of International Tiger Day has pointed out this rise in tiger count much to the delight of the state Forest department. The count in the year 2010 was 70. The data has been compiled by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
"Today is #InternationalTigerDay. The tiger is an endangered species. We must save our tigers. In #Bangla, augmentation of tiger population in Buxa Tiger Reserve has been initiated. In Sunderbans Tiger Reserve, radio collaring and monitoring of tiger is continuing," Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted.
State Forest minister Bratya Basu said: "The growth of tigers in the Sunderbans is encouraging. We are constantly striving towards creating an ecosystem which is friendly for both man and animal in the forests."
A senior official of the state Forest department credited the rise in the count to public cooperation. "The incidence of tiger straying in human territory and vice versa has also been kept in check by putting up of nylon nets at different strategic locations," the official added.
There are also certain restrictions imposed on trawlers and mechanized boats used by fishermen for venturing into the core forest areas for catching fishes. "Fishing is one of the prime activities of the villagers inhabiting the islands of the Sunderbans and we have to maintain a balance between allowing them to catch fish and at the same time prevent man-animal conflict in the process," the official added.
It may be mentioned that the tiger census in the Sunderbans was undertaken in October-November 2018. The camera traps at the Buxa Tiger Reserve in Alipurduar have captured the presence of tiger on more than one occasions in 2018-19 but during the counting exercise that lasted for eight days, the presence of the animal was not found. Photographs of the big cat have also been captured from Neora Valley, the only virgin forest in the state situated at Kalimpong district. Three photographs of the animal have been found since January 2017. "Neora Valley could not be brought under the census exercise as there was some disturbance in the Hills when the count was held on March 2018," the official added.
It may be mentioned that the 2018 census has been the most technologically intensive wildlife enumeration exercise ever undertaken in the country. Android phone applications of M-STrIPES (Monitoring System for Tigers-Intensive Protection and Ecological Status) — a software introduced in 2010 by the NTCA was used extensively.
The software enables both data collection and analysis. The application logs earlier findings in an area, authenticate the findings through geo-tagging of photos, and this results in more accurate assessment of tiger numbers.