(WILDLIFE CONSERVATION) A new research project is assisting with the conservation of the majestic Bengal tiger. The camera trap study, initiated by the WWF-India and West Bengal Forest Department, has helped determine the number of tigers living in the Sunderban Reserve. This analysis allows the tiger reserve to take stricter action against poaching and hunting, which is a major threat to the endangered species. Read on for more on the camera trap study and the effects the research has on the tiger population. — Global Animal 
A tiger swimming in the waters of the Sunderban National Park. Photo Credit: Tapas Dutta, Flickr
A tiger swimming in the waters of the Sunderban National Park. Photo Credit: Tapas Dutta, Flickr

By Jessica Frei

Nature is no longer left alone due to advancements in new technologies, and the Sunderban Tiger Reserve’s tigers are a prime example of this. The WWF-India and West Bengal Forest Department has taken a step in the right direction for the conservation of the Bengal tiger.

A new camera trap study, which is much more authentic than other modes of counting, has detected 77 tigers in the park—a big reason for the blushing faces of the Suderban Tiger Reserve Conservation Department. The plans came to fruition sooner than expected by catching 57 big cats in the national park. An additional 20 royal residents of the reserve were found roaming in the outside area of the park and were added to the count.

The other major areas of tiger conservation are National Park East, Sajnekhali and Basirhat, which respectively are the homes to 27, 17 and 13 royal tigers.   

Conservation Efforts by Sunderban Tiger Reserve

As the number of tigers dwindles, the tiger reserves have taken stricter action against poaching. It was found that one of the biggest reasons for the decreasing number of royal cats in India’s national parks was poaching and hunting. In response, government authorities of Sunderban Park led anti-poaching patrols and moved villages from the threatened areas.

The depleting forest cover was another matter for concern. Furthermore, the constant changes in climate made the scenario worse. Although conservationists could not  help the climatic conditions, they did initiate another preservation effort for safeguarding the forest cover. Efforts were made to increase the number of mangroves in the Sunderban National Park, as to provide proper cover for the tigers in the jungle.

Fruition Results of Cameras

The mangrove forest conservationists are quite content with the new camera trap study, which has helped the national park complete the incredulous task of counting. The exercise of trapping cameras began last November in the jungles of West Bengal and covered all the areas of Baghmara, Chamta, Gona Jhila, Arbesi and Khatuajhuri, which include both the areas of the east zone as well as the Basirhat zone of the national park.

Ullas Karanth is a well-known conservation zoologist, who conducted this conservatory effort for the park and started the camera trap study in the mangrove forest in 1998. He claimed the report of 274 tigers in the park was an inflated number and that only long term population dynamic studies can show the stability in Sunderbans, which reveals the truth if it is decreasing or increasing.

The other renowned personality of the conservation department of India has given his views and advice on STR, and Director Belinda Wright has suggested that the Sunderban Tiger Reserve conservationists need to put more effort into protecting the prey species. This will increase the number of tigers in the park and will keep their population sustainable. The major achievement in the field of Indian wildlife is by the Wildlife Conservativion Society in the Sunderban Tiger Reserve, which has increased the number of tigers with the help of the camera trap study.

For more information, please visit: http://www.wildlifetoursindia.co.uk