A comprehensive tiger estimation report of West Bengal to be released in July is expected to throw light on the “real situation” about the population of big cats in three forest reserves of north Bengal, a top wildlife official said on Wednesday.
A detailed analysis will reveal if the three forest reserves — Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, Neora Valley National Park and Buxa Tiger Reserve — can be classified as tiger reserves or described as places with a floating population of big cats, Bengal’s chief wildlife warden Debal Roy said.
“We will give details in the comprehensive tiger estimation report of the state which will come out by July. As of now I can only say the findings at the three places in north Bengal is encouraging. There had been indications about the presence of tigers in these areas for a long, especially in Neora Valley National Park. Now there is reason to believe it is true," Roy told PTI.
Several anti-poaching measures taken by the forest department in the last few years and a sustained public awareness campaign, involving locals, are now yielding results, the official said.
“A detailed analysis will give a comprehensive idea about the real situation,” the chief wildlife warden said.
Earlier tiger estimation reports had highlighted the concentration of big cats in the Sunderbans where the last census put the figure at 100 based on camera trap technique.
Roy said the wide prey base and the conducive habitat contributed to the sustained growth of tigers, especially in the Sunderbans.
“In Sunderbans, there is a wide and uniform distribution of deer and the forest department regularly releases deer in the Sajnekhali deer reserve area. There is also a significant significant population of wild pigs in the Sunderbans which help in creating an eco-system,” he added.
State forest minister Jyotipriyo Mallick had earlier voiced dissatisfaction over the non-inclusion of the number of tigers in places such as Neora Valley National Park and Buxa Tiger Reserve in the all India report, released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, recently.
Camera trap images had revealed the presence of big cats at Neora Valley National Park and Buxa Tiger Reserve. The tigers could have come from neighbouring Bhutan and Assam using a forested corridor dotted by rivers, the official said.
Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.