Express News Service

KOLKATA:  The report of the 5th cycle of India’s tiger census, conducted in 2022 and released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April, revealed the total number of Royal Bengal Tigers has crossed the three-digit figure for the first time in the Bay of Bengal’s mangrove forests. 

Moreover, the big cat population has reached its saturation in Bengal’s delta-zone, which is likely to result in infiltration of the wild animals into Bangladesh. Forest officials suggested transboundary cooperation between India and Bangladesh should be initiated considering the scenario in the Bangal’s delta region.

The forest officials said the carrying capacity of the tiger population in 100 sq km almost reached its maximum level in the Bengal’s mangroves. The big cats are likely to cross over creeks and rivers to infiltrate mangrove forests in the neighbouring country which occupy 16 per cent more mangroves compared to West Bengal.

“At present, India’s part of Sunderbans spreading over 1,895 sq km area of biosphere reserve and its adjoining areas is inhabited by 101 tigers and the density is 4.27 in per 100 sq km area. Sunderbans’ tiger density was 3.6 in 2018 and its maximum tiger carrying capacity is 4.68 in 100 sq km it appears, the carrying capacity of Bengal’s mangrove region will reach its peak within a few years forcing big cats to cross over to the neighbouring country’s forests in search of a new home,” said a forest official.      

Elaborating on the reason behind possible infiltration by Royal Bengal Tigers, the central report of the tiger census mentioned about the human population is settled in the west and north of the Sajnekhali and Basirhat range in Sunderbans. “So Bengal’s tigers have been left the only option — east where Bangladesh’s mangrove forest is located,” said another official.

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