Sunderbans was the biggest challenge for tiger census: Ramesh

March 28th, 2011 - 7:15 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 28 (IANS) It was a big challenge for forest officials to count tigers in the Sunderbans mangroves, which has reported 70 out of a total of 1,706 tigers in India in the latest census released Monday.

The West Bengal delta was included in the census for the first time this year.

“Sunderbans was the biggest challenge for tiger census due to its vast area and difficult approach,” Environment Minister Jairam said while releasing the tiger population figures here.

The tiger estimation in the world’s largest river delta, which is inside the tidal zone, was done using satellite telemetry and sign surveys.

“Sunderbans has highest tiger density in the world of 19-20 tigers per sq km while the prey availability is poor,” said Y.V. Jhala, scientist from the Wildlife Institute of India, which led the census.

The census was also conducted in four of the five tiger reserves in Maoist-affected states in the country.

The census recorded an increase in tiger figures to 1,706 in 2010, compared to 1,411 in 2006 when the last counting was done.

The Sundarbans consists of around 10,200 sq km of mangrove forest spread over India and Bangladesh. It is the largest mangrove forest in the world.

The total area of the Sundarbans region in India is around 9,600 sq km, which constitutes the Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve.

It is bordered on the west by the Muriganga river and on the east by the Harinbhahga and Raimangal rivers.

The other major rivers flowing through this highly sensitive eco-system are Saptamukhi, Thakuran, Matla and Goasaba.

–Indo-Asians News Service
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