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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tigers of Sunderbans straying into human habitations

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Reports of incidents relating to tigers straying into human inhabited areas have shaken wildlife authorities who have already been worried about shrinking prey base in Sunderbans forests, India.

Tigers of Sunderbans have been reported to prey on aquatic animals like fish and crabs for about a decade. During past few years the matter of depletion of prey base of Sunderbans tigers have already been surfaced and any one out of numerous environment lovers in the country may be surorised to know that athorities are talking about it now only, when incidents of tigers straying into the inhabited areas of Sunderbans islands and attacking the locals have started happening more frequently.

Sunderbans' tiger in search of acquatic prey

So far four people and a number of domestic cattle have been reported to have been killed in 2009 during twelve recorded incidents recorded. It has been reported that authorities are now thinking to supplement the prey base of Sunderbans tigers by releasing deer into the core area. It is important to note that the State Wildlife Advisory Board has already recommended the same citing the reason that a prey base depletion may be responsible for the increasing incidents of tigers straying away from forests that have already shrunk due to human interference in the area.

It is known that the officials of the Sunderbans Forest Reserve have been maintaining a population of spotted deer that are indigenous to Debaki and Jharkhali - the two parks of the area. These deer are to be checked for any infection after which 70 of them have been planned to be introduced in the core zone of the reserve. Here it is important to note that deer were treated for a tuberculosis outbreak a few years back at Dobaki facility.

Wildlife experts and animal lovers of the area are of the opinion that deer reared by forest officials may not be skilled enough to live in the wild and to protect themselves hence unable to survive in the wild. As such they can be easy preys for poachers. Secondly, it does not seem possible for officials to maintain the supply of deer to the core zone of the reserve. The whole story seems nothing more than beating about the bush.

Map showing Sunderbans Forest Reserve area (Natural) Credit - IUCN

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