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Bengal Tigers Making Slow Recovery in India

Forest and wildlife officials have announced a 9% increase in the tiger population of India’s Sunderbans Reserve. A survey conducted just months ago has determined there are 96 tigers on the reserve, up from 88 found in 2018.

Victor Adam / via Pixabay / Pixabay

The Royal Bengal tiger is one of India’s most feared predators but after years of overhunting and deforestation, there are now protected areas for the tiger.

The study was conducted in the protected Sunderbans forest reserve, located outside Kolkata, in West Bengal. On the reserve, the total area is about 4,200 sq km and there are 3,700 sq km (1430 sq mi) being used as big cat habitat. However, the increase in tigers means more habitat may be needed.

“We need to increase the mangrove cover in a bid to provide for more space to tigers in coming days,” 

Forest minister Rajib Bandyopadhyay , via PTI
via Pixabay / Pixabay

The state took advantage of a new tool to help with data collection this year, cameras. According to the head of the Sunderbans Tiger Project, Sudhir Chandra Das, they used 768 cameras placed throughout the tiger habitat. The Wire reports this method can be more reliable than traditional methods and estimations.

The counting exercise, done in a lab in Dehradun, involves comparison of the images of tigers based on their stripes […] the big cats were identified through their stripe patterns.

Sudhir Chandra Das via The Wire

A New Chapter

This is the greatest increase in tiger numbers in the history of the survey, according to officials. Protecting the apex predator can have positive effects throughout the animal kingdom and global ecosystems, but can we keep it up? The return of Bengal tigers is a great sign for the future of conservation in India. Hopefully, this trend will continue for years to come!

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