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27 mars 2013 3 27 /03 /mars /2013 04:59


Pendant ce temps, en Inde du Sud, une nouvelle réserve à tigres devrait ouvrir prochainement près du Parc Corbett (Hindustan Times : hier).

Bangladesh is to launch a census of tigers next month living in the world's largest mangrove forest in a bid to determine the full extent of the threat to their survival, scientists said on Tuesday.

An Indian Royal Bengal tiger pictured at the Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad, southern India, on June 5, 2010.


Bangladesh is to launch a census of tigers next month living in the world's largest mangrove forest in a bid to determine the full extent of the threat to their survival, scientists said on Tuesday.

Yunus Ali, head of the forestry department, said conservationists would fan out across the Bangladeshi side of the Sundarbans to install cameras on trees to obtain a more accurate estimate of tiger numbers since the last census in 2004.

That survey estimated that 440 Royal Bengal Tigers were on the Bangladeshi side. The forest, which includes parts of India's West Bengal state, spans a total of 10,000 square kilometres (3,860 square miles).

But some experts have criticised the methodology used last time around, which relied on the tracking of footprints and, together with a real decline blamed on poachers, believe the current figure could be less than half that amount.

The Bangladeshi scientists will be assisted by wildlife experts from the US-based Smithsonian Conservation and Biology Institute, Ali told AFP Tuesday.

Scientists hope the cameras will help them compile a more accurate figure over the next two years.

"The pugmark (tracking) system created controversies. It's not reliable," Ali said, adding that the new survey should "end all the debate".

Monirul Khan, a zoology professor at Bangladesh's Jahangirnagar University and the nation's foremost tiger expert, expected the survey to confirm his fears that there were no more than 200 tigers on the Bangladeshi side.

"Camera trapping is a far better and more widely accepted technique. If it is done scientifically, it can give an accurate result," he said.

Khan said that around five tigers were killed every year either by villagers trying to protect themselves or by poachers who then sell on their skins or even body parts which are prized in Asia as an aphrodisiac.

There are around 1,850 Bengal tigers living in the wild, according to the WWF conservation group, including around 1,300 tigers in India.

A census on the Indian side of the Sundarbans, conducted between 2003-04 put the numbers at around 270, although some experts say the real figure is actually less than 100.

A similar survey is currently under way in the Tarai Arc Landscape, a forest region which straddles Nepal and India.


There may soon be another option to spot tigers in the hills of Uttarkhand - Rajaji National Park - in addition to extremely popular big cat destination, the Corbett National Park.

The Uttarakhand Forest Department has decided to ask the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to declare Rajaji National Park as a tiger reserve.

The Dehradun based Wildlife Institute of India has caught around 30 tigers on camera in Rajaji in the last few years making the state forest department believe that the landscape could become a substitute tiger home if right protection measures are enforced. 

Rajaji has got most of its tigers from nearby Corbett, who move out to nearby forest areas because of high density of big cats. Unlike other big animals, tiger are solitary in nature and carve out their own territory by pushing out physically weaker tigers. As a result many tigers move out to adjoining forest areas such as Rajaji which may not have protection of the Corbett standard.   

That problem can be sorted out if Rajaji is declared as a tiger reserve.

The NTCA provides special funding to tiger reserves to combat poaching and provide inviolate (disturbance free) core tiger area to foster breeding tiger population. The authority gives Rs. 10 lakh for relocation of every family living inside a tiger reserve.

State government officials said that around 500 families are living inside Rajaji, which are a constant threat to tigers there. About a month ago a tiger in Rajaji national park was allegedly poisoned by local villagers fearing that it would attack their cattle. "A few years back many tigers in Rajaji were poached," a senior state forest department official said.

Forest officials said a proposal to seek tiger reserve status for Rajaji would soon be submitted to NTCA.

Once Rajaji get the coveted tag it would be a delight for wildlife enthusiasts from the Capital region. They would have an option to spot tigers just seven hours (around 250 kms) from Delhi. Incidentally part of Rajaji is on the way to Corbett.

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