Initial steps such as field trips of the two-month census will begin today (Nov.1)
The government is set to restart the Bengal Tiger census in certain parts of the Sundarbans today to complete what was left of the process which began last year.
“Initial steps such as field trips of the two-month census will begin today. The concluding part will be done after the Rash Mela on November 6,” said Zahidul Kabir, divisional wildlife officer of the Sundarbans Wildlife Division and census coordinator.
“Tigers are mostly concentrated in three areas – Kotka-Kochikhali, Nilkomol and Koikhali – this time and the 624sqkm area of Nilkomol will be surveyed. The 360sqkm Kotka-Kochikhali and 365sqkm Koikhali areas were surveyed last winter,” he added.
The number of tigers found in the three areas will be multiplied to estimate the total number of the species in the rest of the Sundarbans.
The government undertook the project named Ecology and Population Estimation of Tigers last year under the project “Strengthening Regional Cooperation for Wildlife Protection” funded by the World Bank. A similar project is also underway in the West Bengal part of the Sundarbans.
In the camera trapping method, surveyors mount cameras at different points in the forest for two months to automatically capture photographs of the passing tigers. The number of tigers is determined later by analysing the photos.
Forest Department sources say 89 infrared cameras have been mounted to count the current number of tigers in the Bangladeshi part of the Sundarbans.
The latest tiger census was conducted back in 2004 and the pugmark method was used at the time. The number of Bengal Tigers was found to be 440 in the Bangladeshi part and 60-80 in the Indian part.
According to government statistics, the Sundarbans covers 6,017sqkm, which is 4.07% of the total land mass of the country and 40% of Bangladesh’s forest land.
The Sundarbans is home to 334 species of trees, shrubs and epiphytes, and 269 different species of wild animals, including the Bengal Tiger.