Sujit Roy, 22 March 2008, Saturday
West Bengal forest analysts are happy to note that the biosphere of Sunderbans is still conducive to tigers and the breeding pattern may check the ringing alarm bells in respect of the Indian tigers’ count being only 1411.
WHILE THE effect of the fast rising sea level due to global worming and human aggression on the jungles have become a serious threat to the future existence of the Royal Bengal Tiger in Sunderbans, the forest department of the Government of West Bengal has come out with a happy information ? the number of cubs female tigers are breeding, is increasing. Five years ago, the mother tigers were found to breed only one or two cubs at a time. Now it has been established that they are delivering three or four cubs at a time. This has helped the total number of tigers to increase to more than 300 (estimated) I place of 240 a few years ago. The forest analysts are happy to note that the biosphere of Sunder bans is still conducive to tigers and the breeding pattern may check the ringing alarm bells in respect of the Indian tigers’ count being only 1411.
The fact emerged when a group of forest officials found the newborn babies with their mother in the core forest area recently. Then the forest department conducted a direct sighting survey on the issue to understand whether it was a single incident or a natural course of breeding. The survey has reported that the breeding pattern of the Sunderbans tigers has developed and the number of tiger is increasing.
According to Shukla, the growth rate of the Royal Bengal Tiger is being closely monitored. “Five years ago, it was found the number of tigers is declining in the Sunderbans. Now after the recent survey we can say the coming tiger census will surely prove that the number of tiger has increased a lot,” he said. Because mother tigers are now breeding multiple cubs and are able to save them from the male partners who are naturally prone to kill the cubs.
The state forest officials claim that they are still unaware of the situation in other states. Only a national census report can tell the truth. But the development in Sunderbans is surely a major development in the history of tiger conservation in the country. They claimed that despite the human population in the Sunderbans increasing, the jungle in the core area has also increased. This is because the theft of plants has been checked. The incidents of illegal killing of tigers in the Sunderbans area have also come down due to intensified coast and jungle patrol. The number of deer has also increased a lot and the tigers are no longer suffering from lack of food. Ecology specialists are claiming that all these factors together have contributed positively to the increase in the number of tiger cubs in the Sunderbans.
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