Millennium Post

State takes measures to boost food chain of Royal Bengal Tiger

State takes measures to boost food chain of Royal Bengal Tiger

Kolkata: The state Forest department is working to boost the food chain for Royal Bengal Tiger at Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR) in Alipurduar district of North Bengal. The department is in talks with the Assam government for transporting half a dozen big cats at BTR for augmenting its population.

The department has been bringing in herbivores from different wildlife sanctuaries across the state in phases to ensure a proper food chain for the big cats. The department had already released some 500 odd deer of different types in phases. Recently, 140 Chital deer have been released from Ballavpur Wildlife Sanctuary in Bolpur.

"We have finished conducting a survey of herbivores at all the national parks and sanctuaries in North Bengal. The survey of Buxa has been done separately. The census report is being compiled," said Vinod Kumar

Yadav, state Chief Wildlife Warden.

He added that the department is soon taking up conservation and breeding of Sambar deer at Buxa and Jaldapara. The size of this deer variety is best suited for being prey for the big cats.

"We are renovating our deer enclosure facility at Kunjanagar near Falakata under the west range of Jaldapara and some sambar variety from the Jaldapara National Park will be released there for the purpose of breeding," Yadav added.

Buxa is one of the three forests in India, where the National Tiger Conservation Authority has approved the tiger augmentation programme.

The Assam government had asked the state government for arranging a tripartite meeting in presence of NTCA officials on the issue of tiger transportation.

"We will soon finalise the dates of the meeting and will delineate the measures that have already been taken for having a good prey species of herbivores for the tiger," a senior Forest department official said.

The department wants to bring tigers from the forest reserves in Assam as it has similar flora and fauna as the Buxa. "Sunderbans mangrove forest has a completely different mangrove ecosystem and it may be difficult for the animals to survive in the climatic condition at Buxa if they were brought from there," the official added.

Moreover, BTR is located close to Assam's Manas Tiger Reserve, and some experts believe that animals from Manas often come to Buxa using Bhutan as a corridor.

The BTR is home to smaller cats such as leopards, which occasionally surface in the tea gardens nearby. There are also common clouded leopards, jungle cats and fishing cats. The herbivore list includes elephants, Indian gaur, and a reasonable

population with a wide variety of deer.

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