Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary (WB), Dec 18 (ANI): The annual tiger census for the year 2008-09 in West Bengal began from Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary (MLS) on the foothills of Himalayas in Darjeeling today. The census is being carried out every year in parts of Bengal to get a figure of the number of tigers residing in the area.
India has lost over 50 per cent of its tiger population in the past five years with the numbers dwindling to 1,411 from 3,642 in 2001-02, according to the latest tiger census report released early this year. As per this report North Bengal is left with only 10 tigers as against 349 earlier.
A total of 30 teams, each headed by a forest officer, will monitor over a total area of over 200 square kilometers from Kuersong range to the Bauxar tiger reserve forest in Bengal to find out whether the tigers are breeding in the sanctuary.
“The population of tigers has always been very small in Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary. So we will check their habitat and prey base in order to find out whether any breeding is happening or not. We will try to find the evidences of the cubs ,” said P. D. Bhutia, Chief Conservator of Forest, MLS, Darjeeling.
The monitoring will be conducted for five days around all the forestlands of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts.The search would be carried out mostly on the basis of the pugmarks, scats of the tigers and other modern techniques.
“From today onwards till December 22 we will do this exercise at those places where we think we might be able to get evidence of the tigers,” Bhutia added. The assessment of the data of the previous census has shown that the tiger has suffered due to direct poaching, loss of quality habitat and its prey.