Tiger census begins in Sundarbans
The tiger census through camera trapping method has started in West Bengal's Sundarbans, which, according to the last estimate, was home to 96 big cats, an official said. The camera installation process has been completed in the first phase in the Sundarbans, one of the largest mangrove forests in the world. The movement of the big cats will also be monitored for a month.
1,164 cameras will be installed at 582 locations in Sundarbans
Sundarbans Tiger Reserve field director Tapas Das said, "We have already installed many cameras. The forest department will also put 272 more in January. Overall 1,164 cameras will be installed at 582 locations this time." Altogether, 10 teams comprising 120 forest personnel are taking part in the exercise, he further said.
New technology replaced Pugmark method
Tiger estimation in the mangrove forest had traditionally been done by the pugmark method, the forest official said. The last counting exercise was primarily based on camera trapping technique, he added. The pugmark method was field-friendly, but due to some drawbacks, the Project Tiger authorities developed a new methodology for monitoring of tigers, co-predators, prey and habitat.
Last census reported an increase in number of tigers
According to the last census, the tiger population in the Sundarbans reserve forest had increased to 96 from the previous estimate of 88. Of the 4,200 square km area in the Sundarbans, 3,700 square km is the habitat of big cats.
Camera trapping technique more reliable
The camera trapping technique is more reliable than the traditional method of counting pugmarks, another forest department official said. According to the All India Tiger Estimation Report 2018, India has emerged as one of the biggest and safest habitats for tigers in the world. The tiger population in India had grown from 1,411 in 2006 to 2,967 in 2019, the last four-yearly tiger census report said.