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Current Affairs

Tiger population rises in Sunderbans

Date: 09 May 2020 Tags: National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary

Issue

The latest estimation of tiger numbers in the Indian Sunderbans indicates an increase in the population of big cats. According to the West Bengal Forest Department, the tiger count for the year 2019-20 rose to 96, from 88 in 2018-19.

 

Background

The Sunderbans delta, spread over India and Bangladesh, is the only mangrove forest in the world inhabited by tigers.

 

Details

  • The increase in the number by eight was significant as it was the biggest annual jump reported from the Sunderbans. Previously, the highest yearly increase of tigers in the Sunderbans had been seven.

  • The estimation revealed that of the 96 tigers, 23 were identified as male and 43 as female, while the sex of 30 big cats could not be determined. The survey also revealed the presence of 11 tiger cubs. 

  • The Sunderban mangrove forest is spread over 2,585 sq. km and includes the Sundarban Tiger Reserve and the 24 Parganas (South) Division.

  • While 23 tigers were found in 24 Parganas (South) Division, 73 big cats were recorded inside the four divisions of the Sunderban Tiger Reserve.

  • Estimation of the number of tigers in the Sunderbans, a world heritage as well as a Ramsar site, has always been a challenge because of the difficult terrain that comprises dense mangrove forests, with creeks and rivulets, and floods twice a day during the high tides.

 

Sunderbans

  • The Sundarbans is a mangrove area in the delta formed by the confluence of the GangesBrahmaputra and Meghna Rivers in the Bay of Bengal.

  • It spans from the Hooghly River in India's state of West Bengal to the Baleswar River in Bangladesh.

  • It comprises closed and open mangrove forests, agriculturally used land, mudflats and barren land, and is intersected by multiple tidal streams and channels.

  • Four protected areas in the Sundarbans are enlisted as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, viz Sundarbans National Park, Sundarbans WestSundarbans South and Sundarbans East Wildlife Sanctuaries.