Two tigers were trapped in quick succession by the authorities of the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve on Tuesday to mitigate man-animal conflict on the estuarine islands, officials of the West Bengal Forest Department said on Wednesday.
The tigers had strayed into the inhabited areas in Samshernagar and Kalitala, which has a high density of human and cattle population, said Subrat Mukherjee, field director of the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve.
On Tuesday evening, a tigress was caught on the fringes of the Arbesi forest; not long after, another tiger was trapped in the same area. The forested area is separated from an inhabited island by a narrow river that nearly dries up during the low tide.
Ensuring that tigers do not frequent villages is as important as preventing humans from entering the forest areas illegally, Pradeep Vyas, director of the Sunderbans Biosphere Reserve, said.
“Both these captured animals are agile and healthy and were found fit for release. However, we often come across tigers frequently straying into inhabited areas, which are old or, in some way, handicapped or injured,” Mr. Vyas said.
To provide treatment to such injured animals within the unique environment of the Sunderbans, the Tiger Rescue Centre at Jharkhali should begin operations in a month, he said.
Currently, if an injured tiger is trapped, it has to be rushed to a zoo. Once the Tiger Rescue Centre becomes operational, they will be spared the time they have to spend in the artificial environment of a zoo, besides the arduous journey to Kolkata.