For an authentic scientific study of their behaviour, tigers in the Sunderbans, the world’s only mangrove eco-system which has big cats, will be fitted with radio collars, forest officials said.
“Last week a tigress which had strayed into Gosaba area in South 24 Parganas district was fitted with a radio collar. We have to radio collar a few more tigers which will provide information about their behaviour in Sunderbans,” Sunderban Biosphere Reserve (SBR) director Pradeep Vyas told PTI.
There was no scientific study on the behaviour of the big cats in the Sunderbans and all information was based solely on observation, he said.
“So, an authentic scientific study is needed and radio collars will provide us exact information about the behaviour of tigers,” Vyas said.
It was found that it was the same tigress which had entered the locality for a second time in the past six months.
Experts from the Wildlife Institute of India had last week fitted the tigress with a radio collar after it was tranquilised.
Vyas said as per signals received from the radio collar, the tigress was roaming within a three—km area at Chorkhali in Netidhopani where it was released.
After every incident of tiger straying into villages, questions were raised from different quarters, including wildlife NGOs, about the lack of prey base in the mangrove forest.
According to locals in the Sunderbans, tiger sightings were more frequent now because their numbers have gone up, Vyas, who has earlier worked as a field director of Sunderban Tiger Reserve, said.
The West Bengal forest department has procured an imported radio collar at a cost of over Rs. 3 lakh from the Dehra Dun-based Wildlife Institute of India.
It would be fitted on a tiger if it strayed and was found to be in good health, he said.
Earlier, in 2007 forest authorities radio collared a tigress, but it malfunctioned after some time, throwing a plan to modernise tiger monitoring methods in jeopardy.