7 March 2022.
Wildlife Institute of India (WII) was entrusted to prepare a report on the increasing cases on man-animal conflict. In this regard WII released a preliminary report, which is based on the recent tiger census.
Findings of the preliminary report
- The density of tigers in the Sunderbans of West Bengal may have reached its carrying capacity. WII informed West Bengal forest department that the carrying capacity in the hostile terrain is three to five tigers per 100 sq km. But in multiple blocks of Sunderbans, the density is more than that.
- This high density will force tigers to move out of forests in search for new areas. Recently, around eight tigers have entered into villages in Sunderbans and all of them were captured and released into the wild.
- The WII has advised the Bengal forest department to release the captured tigers in those areas of the forest that have less density of tigers.
- WII is an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate change. It was established in 1982 and conducts research in areas like Biodiversity, Endangered Species, Wildlife Policy, Wildlife Management, etc.
- WII along with National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and state forest departments is responsible for the national tiger census or the All India Tiger Estimation.
- The Sunderbans is the world’s largest mangrove delta which is spread across 10,000 sq km. Around 4,000 sq km is in West Bengal (India) and the rest in Bangladesh. The Indian Sunderbans consists of the tiger reserve and populated areas of South 24 Parganas. The Sunderbans is home to Royal Bengal Tigers.
- The 2018 national census showed that there are 88 tigers in Indian Sunderbans. The 2020-2021 Census of West Bengal state forest department found 96 tigers. This shows increase in population of tigers.
The density of tigers depends on several parameters like availability of prey, human interference, and male-female ratio of the tigers.