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‘Report underestimates tiger count in Sunderbans’




                                                                                                                                             The Hindu, Kolkata, 23rd January, 2015

Shiv Sahay Singh

An analysis of the camera trap images reveals that the minimum number of tigers in the Sunderbans is higher than what has been given in the report. File Photo


"The tiger population in the Sundarbans has remained stable, and is estimated to be 76 (62 to 96)," according to Status of Tiger in India 2014 report, which was released earlier this week.
 
Forest Department officials and experts monitoring the tiger population in West Bengal have questioned the preliminary estimate of a Union government report that put the number of the big cat in the mangrove forest of the Sunderbans at 76.

“The tiger population in the Sundarbans has remained stable, and is estimated to be 76 (62 to 96),” according to Status of Tiger in India 2014 report, which was released earlier this week.

Experts and officials working in the Sunderbans Biosphere Reserve say the mangrove forests are home to at least 103 tigers. The State’s Forest Department came out with the figures in 2014 on the basis of images from camera traps set up by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, India (WWF).

“The Status of Tiger 2014 has used a statistical model and put 76 as the mean number … However, the WWF and the WII have put the number at 100 in 2014,” Soumitra Dasgupta, Field Director of Sunderbans Tiger Reserve, told The Hindu.

An analysis of the camera trap images reveals that the minimum number of tigers in the Sunderbans is higher than what has been given in the report.

 WWF-India, which has set up the camera traps in most of the Sunderbans, says it has at least 62 photographs of unique individual tigers, besides 10 photographs showing the right flank of tigers and 15 the left flank. This implies that there are at least 72 tigers.

In the national park west of the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve, where the camera traps were set up by the WII, there are at least 22 tigers. Thus, the minimum total comes to 94.

An expert involved in the setting up of camera traps and regular monitoring of tigers says the WII needs to re-look at the data on the count provided. New images showed three newborn cubs. However, these cubs were noticed only in 2015.

Moreover, it is more difficult to monitor the tigers in the Sunderbans forest than in other sanctuaries and national parks because of the difficult terrain of the delta region.
 
Source:- http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/report-underestimates-tiger-count-in-sunderbans/article6813089.ece?ref=relatedNews