Yearly Tiger Census in Sunderbans

A Tiger in Sundarbans
Nikhil Devasar
The last census revealed only 12 tigers.

Phase IV of the tiger estimation exercise will see Sunderbans gaining more sample sites and also yearly estimation of tigers. Currently, camera traps have been laid in only 100 sq kms. In the new format, three more sites covering upper, lower and middle Sundarbans have been suggested and the new protocol will use 25 pairs of double sided cameras per 100 square kilometres and a minimum trapping effort of 1000 trap nights per 100 sq km. Distance sampling protocols may be used for prey population estimation. During the latest census, 102 photos were taken from Sundarbans which revealed the presence of 12 tigers – 10 adults and 2 cubs. Since it is not possible to walk the Mangroves due to lack of proper animal trails and the danger of tiger attacks, tidal channel searches are used. 126 boat transects were sampled across the entire reserve. The technology and protocol will be shared with Bangladesh. The Centre is to release Rs 30-40 lakhs for the exercise.

The areas covered will be Sajnekhali and Netidhopani in upper areas, Chamta and Katoajhuri in middle areas, and Kendo, Haldi and Baghmara in lower areas.

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