The Bangladesh part of Sunderbans, by virtue of its larger area, has more tigers compared with the Indian side, but the tiger density is lower than the Indian side, said a Times of India report on Monday.
The reason for low tiger density is poaching, mainly of prey animals, the report said quoting scientists.
Titled “Indian Sunderbans roars past Bangladesh in tiger density count”, the report said that the Indian Sunderbans has 4 tigers per 100sq km, almost twice that of the Bangladesh side.
It said according to a recent report on Indo-Bangla tiger estimation, the tiger-occupied area of the Bangladeshi side is also larger: 4,832sq km, compared with India’s 1,841sq km.
“The Bangladesh Sunderbans has a bigger area and the tiger-occupied habitat, too, is higher on that side, but the density is just 2.17 tigers per 100sq km, almost half of that in the Indian Sunderbans,” Wildlife Institute of India senior scientist Y V Jhala quoted in the report as saying.
It said that the report “Status of Tigers in the Sunderbans Landscape of Bangladesh and India” finds that the encounter rate of human sign and sighting was higher in Bangladesh Sunderbans which is further exacerbated by the usage of river channels for transportation of commercial vehicles.
It said that the exercise, which was conducted in the last few years, has recorded the highest tiger density in the Sajnekhali range of the Indian Sunderbans; the lowest was recorded in Bangladesh’s Khulna range.
Both countries have undertaken a camera-trap exercise in 2018 to get a more reliable estimate. The exercise at Basirhat and National Park (east) in the Indian Sunderbans is over, but it’s still on in Bangladesh’s Khulna and Sarankhola ranges.
“Unlike previous years, when we had one camera station for every 4sq km, this time, we have one station per 2sq km. So, we have got more pictures this time, but are yet to conduct an analysis. After the monsoon, the same exercise will be carried out in the National Park (west) and Sajnekhali ranges,” the Sunderbans field director Nilanjan Mullick quoted in the report as saying.
The divisional forest officer of the Sunderbans east division in Bangladesh Mahmudul Hasan said they had taken several measures to minimise human disturbance.
“We are not allowing ships of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority to ply through sensitive zones of the forest. We have also intensified patrolling and research work on the ground,” he was quoted in the report.
DFO of wildlife management, Modinul Ahsan, said the first-phase camera trap exercise in Bangladesh had been started in March.