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Post at: May 27 2022

WII Report on Sunderbans Tiger

Why in News

  • In March, 2022, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) released the preliminary report on the increasing cases of man - animal conflict. The WII report focuses on the recent tiger census.

Preliminary Finding of WII

  • According to the report the density of tigers in the Sunderbans of West Bengal may have reached its carrying capacity. WII informed forest department of West Bengal that the carrying capacity In the hostile terrain is three to five tigers per 100 sq. km. But in multiple blocks of Sunderbans the density of tigers is found more than that.
  • The high density of tigers will force them to move out of forests in search for new areas. Recently, around eight tigers have entered into villages in Sunderbans and all of them were captured and released into the wild.
  • WII has advised the forest department of West Bengal government to release the catured tigers in those areas of forest that have less density of tigers.

About Sunderbans

  • The Sunderbans is the world's largest mangrove delta which is spread across 10,000 Sq. km. Around 4,000 Sq. km. is in West Bengal (India) and the rest in Bangladesh. 
  • The Sunderbans is home to Royal Bengal Tiger.
  • The 2018 national census showed that there are 88 tigers in Sunderbans (in India). The 2020-21 census of West Bengal state forest department found 96 tiger. This shows increase in population of tigers.

Conflict : Cause or Effect

  • The consequences of increasing tiger density will definitely lead to higher levels of human wildlife conflict in the reserve peripheries.
  • The social carrying capacity would be negatively impacted as the land uses overlap in Sunderbans and a good number of people depend on forest resources for livelihood.

Way Ahead

  • Artificially boosting the prey base in a reserve is often an intuitive solution but it can be counter - productive.
  • While tackling external factors such as bush meat hunting is necessary to case pressure on the tiger. The govt. policies have discouraged reserve manager from striding to increase tiger densities by artificial management practices of habitat manipulation or prey augmentation.
  • Experts favor to increase the area occupied by  tigers, create safe connectivity among forests and allow tigers to disperse safely to new areas.
  • Several studies also show that removing tigers or any wildlife animal, the chances of future interface as another lot turns up.
  • Smarter land use to minimise damage and providing adequate incentives to promote acceptance of wildlife.
  • In a landscape squeezed in by climate change rising sea level and salinity, the future of people are nearly as precarious as the tiger's. Thus, the policy makers should make balanced decision in managing the increased tiger density.

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