Camera traps installed by WWF-India in Lalgarh, West Bengal capture an adult male tiger
An adult male tiger was recently photographed in the forests of Lalgarh, West Bengal, believed to be the first sighting in the area. In early February, incidents of livestock kills and paw prints were reported from the Amlia, Kamrangi, Madhupur, Melkharia villages of the Mednipur Forest Division in West Bengal.
Following these reports, WWF-India’s Sundarbans team in collaboration with the West Bengal Forest Directorate deployed camera traps in the forest division to assess the situation and presence of any big cat in the area. Observations in the forests after one week of the incident – including big cat pugmarks in the Lalgarh range of Medinipur Forest Division and reports from local communities - confirmed the presence of the tiger.
On 27th February, WWF India installed camera traps in three strategic locations based on the observed carnivore signs. Frontline staff of the Forest Directorate closely monitored the camera trap sites. On 2nd March, those camera traps captured images of the tiger. Analysis by biologists of WWF-India and West Bengal Forest Directorate have ascertained that the individual is a full grown adult male tiger.
Located at Jangalkhas 779, Mouza; Kantapahari Beat and Lalgarh, Range (the area where the tiger was photographed) is also frequented by villagers mostly to collect Non Timber Forest Products (NTFP). About 80 km away is Odisha’s Similipal National Park and Tiger Reserve which is the nearest tiger habitat. Speculations arethat the tiger might have moved out from Similipal. One possible route of migration is through the green patches of Kamardungi forest range, Saranda-Singbhum range, Chandil-Gamharia range, Dalma, Sarenga and finally Goaltore, to reach Lalgarh. It is also speculated that the individual could have taken the Gamharia hill range, Gorumahisani mountain range and the Dumania hill forest to reach Dalma and via Belpahari and Goaltore it might have reached Lalgarh. In spite of the forest patches being fragmented, connectivity exists in these forests. For instance, the two major rivers, Subarnarekha and Kangsabati which are mostly dry in this period mighthave acted as a corridor.
The movement of tigers through these forests emphasizes the importance of securing the forests as corridors for the tiger and other wildlife. With such evidence of the movement of tigers, conservation actions could include identification of critical areas within these forests as a functional corridor for enhanced protection in consultation with the West Bengal Forest Directorate.
For more information,
WWF-India Sundarbans Landscape
68 A, Jodhpur Park
Tel: +91-33-40086584, Cell: +91-9830334431