Bangladesh Forest Department will set up 1,330 cameras at 665 spots in the Sundarbans to count tigers, deer and pigs from January 1, 2023.
The authorities have started installing cameras on both sides of the canals under Kalabogi Forest Station of Khulna Range from December 15 as part of the “Sundarbans Tiger Conservation Project”.
Abu Naser, forest official of Sundarbans East zone and director of the project, said, “Apart from counting tigers, this year, the forest department will count deer and pigs as well under the project. They have divided the project into two categories — camera trapping and canal survey. Primarily, the survey along both sides of the canals in Sundarbans has started and through the process, the movement and pugmarks of tigers will be pointed out.”
Through the camera trapping process, the authorities will take snaps for two years and later they will analyse the photos captured for the next two months, and after that they will figure out the numbers, he said.
A technical committee has already been formed and the committee decided to install cameras at 665 spots, he added.
Of these, 200 will be set up in Satkhira Range, 140 in Khulna Range, 180 in Sharankhola and 145 in Chandpai Range, said Abu Naser.
Two cameras will be installed in each grid and a total of 1,330 cameras will be set up.
Asked about the number of tigers, the project director said, “The exact figure of tigers will be known after the census. Earlier, it was difficult for tourists to see any tiger during their Sundarbans visit but now, they can take photos of 3-4 tigers which indicates that the number might have increased.”
The tiger census will be conducted in and outside the wildlife sanctuary and the authorities will conduct the survey in the less, more and most saline areas of the Sundarbans, he said.
Tigers mostly hunt deer, but they also eat pigs, monkeys and crabs and another survey will be conducted to figure out their eating habits in 2024, he added.
Three hundred and forty members of 49 village tiger response teams and 185 members of community patrol groups under the four ranges will be given training to conduct the survey.
Local launches and support boats will be hired for four months under the projects while 200 special category cameras, batteries, and SD cards will be purchased.
Nirmal Kumar Pal, during a press briefing held on March 31, said 200 cameras will be purchased for the project as only 90 cameras were available which was not sufficient.