India is planning a new tiger sanctuary inside the world’s largest mangrove forest, wildlife officials have told the Asian Age newspaper.
According to the report, the reserve is planned inside the Sundarbans, a forest that straddles West Bengal’s border with Bangladesh, to protect the tigers from poachers and try to boost their numbers.
“The Indian government has agreed in principle to set up a new sanctuary to protect the tigers in the mangroves,” Pradip Vyas, director of the government’s Biosphere Sundarbans Project was quoted as saying in the Asian Age report.
India is home to most of the world’s tigers and the Sundarbans, a UNESCO world heritage site that spreads over a total of 10,000 sq km, already has a tiger reserve.
But a survey this year of the forest using hidden cameras found some 22 tigers outside that reserve, prompting government moves to set up the new and smaller sanctuary, the director Vyas said.
He said the 22 could indicate a boost in overall tiger numbers in India, which is home to 1,706 tigers going by the last census in 2011.
“We have found the presence of 102 tigers, of which 80 were in the tiger reserve project near Sajnekhali and 22 in the forest on the western bank of the river Malta, site for the new sanctuary,” he was quoted in the report.
“What is more encouraging is that six cubs were photographed, besides the grown-up tigers, during the six-month-long census,” he added.