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Sundarbans has less than 90 tigers

 Amid a dispute over tiger count in Sundarbans, a fresh survey has found that the largest habitat of the Royal Bengal Tiger has a population between 64 and 90.

The 2004 census had claimed that the tiger count in Sundarban was around 274 and the figure dropped to an estimated 70 in the 2010 census, prompting experts to cast doubts on its accuracy as they claimed that scientific methods were not used for the
head count.

The figure was put at 90-odd by certain agencies involved in the census in the world’s largest mangrove forest six months ago but the new survey puts the tiger count  between 64 and 90.

“Population estimation of the Sundarbans tigers was done with a combination of camera trapping and satellite telemetry. The total population for the Indian Sundarbans was estimated to be between 64 to 90 tigers,” says the latest environment ministry document.

According to the new document, a tiger density of 4.3 tigers per 100 sqkm has been estimated at the Sundarbans Tiger Reserve and its surrounding areas.

The All India Tiger Estimation Exercise for 2010 had revealed that the tiger population in the country has risen to 1,706 compared to 1,411 in 2006.

The total area of the Sunderbans is 9,630 sqkm, of which 4,264 sqkm bears mangrove forest. The area of the reserve is 2,585 sqkm covering land area of 1,600 sqkm and water body over 985 sqkm.

                                                                                          Deccan Herald, New Delhi, 2nd January, 2013