While fighting intrusion of salt water and erosion of forest land due to climate change, the tiger population in the shrinking islands of Sundarbans has persisted stable over the last few years. The latest report estimates the presence of 86 big cats in Sundarbans.
As per the latest camera-trap reports conducted by the West Bengal forest department and WWF during November to March this year in Sundarbans, there are a minimum of 83 tigers and could be a maximum of 128.
The stable population of big cats indicates that Sundarbans ecosystem is healthy. The similar exercise had occurred in 2014, put the number of tigers at 76.
“The mean of this range has been calculated at 86 using a statistical model. There has been a marginal increase in the tiger count so we can say that the population is now very well stable,” Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden Pradeep Vyas told PTI.
“Most importantly the population range is close to last year’s range which proves the stability. There can be minor increase and decrease in the population,” Vyas said.
The report found that areas outside the core zone have a good population of tigers that are breeding well. Five cubs were spotted by the cameras but were not taken into account as only adults are counted in population estimates as a rule.
Threatening tiger habitat and its prey base, mangrove forests in the Sundarbans delta are hit hard by constant land erosion and salinity due to rising sea levels.