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Tiger-tracking with Dhaka

Calcutta, Dec. 4: A team from Bangladesh will for the first time be part of a tiger census in the Sunderbans.

The weeklong census, carried out every two years, will begin on January 14 and cover 4,200 square kilometres.

Director of Sunderbans Tiger Reserve Pradeep Vyas said: “During the last census, we had traced 245 animals, including 129 tigresses and 23 cubs. This time, we are behind schedule but have taken great care to involve local clubs, NGOs, NCC cadets and students of zoology from Pathankhali College in Canning to make the study transparent and more credible.”

The squad has been divided into 23 teams — each comprising eight to 10 members, including two amateurs. Vyas said the participants will be insured but will have to sign a bond pledging responsibility for their lives.

The Bangladeshi team will comprise wildlife enthusiasts. “They will stay with us from January 14 to 20 and share information on the recent methods of census in their country. In future, forest officials from here will visit Bangladesh,” said Vyas.

The people whose lives are intrinsic with the Royal Bengal tiger will be represented in the study through local clubs. “Being part of the census will help them earn some money as well. Fishing in the backwaters is not allowed during the census,” said the tiger reserve chief.

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