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14 February, 2018 01:27:40 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 14 February, 2018 10:10:50 AM

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Tiger census begins in Sundarbans

Camera-trap method expected to do accurate count
ANISUR RAHMAN KHAN
Tiger census begins in Sundarbans

The sight of the big cat in the Sundarbans is becoming rare due to the fast decline in the tiger population resulting from unabated poaching. This is raising doubts about the survival prospects of this majestic animal in the world’s biggest mangrove forest.

Against this backdrop, the Department of Forest and Wild Team, a non-government conservation organisation, jointly started a two-month census of the endangered tiger population in the Sundarbans for the third time. This will involve the use of the modern camera-trapping technology, which is now in vogue in wildlife census.

The exercise will be conducted in the East and West ranges of the Sundarbans. It will count the number of tigers and monitor the state of their habitat. Amir Hossain Chowdhury, DFO of the Khulna range, told The Independent yesterday a government census in 2014 had estimated the number of tigers to be about 440, including 121 male tigers, 298

female tigers and 21 cubs. The census was conducted by counting the pug marks of the tigers

Another census, conducted in 2013-14, used the camera-trapping method and put the number of tigers at 106.

“We're providing technical and other logistical support to the Wild Team, which is bearing the financial burden,” Chowdhury said.

The USAID has been running a project on tigers and the Wild Team is working with them, he added.

Chowdhury said it would take around two and a half months to collect data using the camera-trap technology. The results of the census will be published in the first quarter of 2019, he added.

“Experts from Bangladesh and India will analyse the data. After the completion of the analysis, we will publish the report regarding the number of tigers,” he said in reply to a query.

"Tigers have natural markings (stripes) and the stripes of each tiger are different. Photographs can be compared to identify each individual tiger. A total of 478 cameras are to be set up in the Sundarbans’ East and West ranges,” he added.

Chowdhury said the technology would give the exact tiger count while providing general information about the tiger, its ecology, current status, prey base, population monitoring, distance sampling, capture-recapture sampling, lab and field exercises, and data analysis.

“Camera trapping is the preferred method for conducting tiger census. In this method, the camera traps, equipped with an electronic switch, record tigers and other animals that walk in front of by taking their photographs,” he explained.

At least 50 tigers have died in the Sundarbans between 2001 and 2018. In the 19th century, there were about one lakh tigers across the globe, but their number has dwindled alarmingly over the years. Only 3,200 tigers can be found around world today.

SR

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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