Tiger radio-collared in Sundarbans Tiger Reserve to assess human-tiger interactions
New Delhi: A tiger has been radio-collared in the Sundarban Tiger Reserve by the West Bengal Forest Directorate and WWF India, with support from the ICICI Foundation. The radio-collared tiger will provide crucial information on tiger behaviour, their habitat use within the Sundarban Biosphere Reserve and the extent of negative human-tiger interaction around human settlements. This will go a long way to influence the development of effective management plans and strategies to reduce negative human-tiger interactions in the landscape.
The Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest, is home to a uniquely adapted tiger population that occupies mangrove forests, with individuals swimming across creeks to maintain territories and hunt their prey. The Sundarbans is a unique but challenging landscape for tiger conservation given that large portions of it are subject to inundation under seawater with tidal fluctuations, and many portions of the habitat are quite inaccessible.
About 1.5 million people live in proximity to these forests and are dependent on natural resources. Local people engaged in traditional fishing and wild honey collection are often at risk of attacks from tigers. More humans have lost their lives to tigers in the forests of Sundarbans than any other area of the tiger’s range. While such tragic events sometimes occur in and around settlements when tigers ‘stray’ into those areas, the majority occur within the mangrove forests, which local people access for resource extraction.
“The Forest Department has prioritised scientific management of biodiversity in the Sundarban Biosphere Reserve. Such initiatives will help the managers to safeguard tigers, their habitats and ensure well being of the human population who are living around the Reserve. Collaring wild tigers and data received from monitoring them will help in understanding the habitat utilization pattern along with the behaviour of this endangered species,” said Mr. V. K. Yadav - PCCF (Wildlife and Biodiversity) & Chief Wildlife Warden, West Bengal Forest Directorate.
The radio-collaring exercise was carried out by a team comprising of biologists, veterinary experts, forest department officers, and field staff. The wild male tiger, fitted with a satellite collar will be closely monitored by the West Bengal Forest Directorate and WWF India.
Speaking about the initiative, Dr. Dipankar Ghose, Director, Wildlife and Habitats Programme, WWF India said, “In a unique landscape like Sundarbans, this initiative will strengthen conservation of tigers. This study is significant as the data from the collar will help to plug the gaps in our understanding of the spatial ecology and behavior of tigers in this landscape. We also look forward to identifying solutions for conserving tigers while promoting human well-being in partnership with the Sundarban Biosphere Reserve management. We sincerely thank the West Bengal Forest Directorate, NTCA, and the support provided by the ICICI Foundation.”
‘ICICI Foundation is committed to nature and wildlife conservation. In order to fulfill this objective, ICICI Foundation works on various initiatives based on local requirements. Addressing human-wildlife conflict is one of our key initiatives in forest areas to maintain ecological balance. By addressing human wildlife conflict, these programmes endeavor to secure sustainable livelihood for the communities staying at the fringes of these forests. This initiative in the Sundarbans is another milestone in our conservation journey,’ said Mr. Anuj Agarwal, Chief Operating Officer, ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth.
WWF-India’s Sundarban programme aims to ensure effective protection for tigers and their prey, taking steps to reduce negative interaction between humans and tigers within the mangrove forests and along the estuaries, and strengthening the capacity of West Bengal Forest Directorate. WWF-India in collaboration with the Wildlife Wing of West Bengal Forest Directorate is working towards an integrated approach to prioritize habitat management interventions, deter human-wildlife conflict and build climate-resilient communities in Indian Sundarbans.
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Rituparna Sengupta, WWF-India: firstname.lastname@example.org
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About ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth
About ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth (ICICI Foundation): ICICI FOUNDATION FOR INCLUSIVE GROWTH is the CSR arm of ICICI Group. ICICI Foundation works on promoting Inclusive Growth across the country. It focusses on developing/strengthening value chains as a part of its Rural Livelihood program. The program works on enabling sustainable livelihood at around 1,000 villages across the country with more than 275,000 beneficiaries till date. ICICI Academy for Skills imparts Skill development training to the underprivileged youth for employment opportunities. Over 145,000 youth have been trained at the 28 academies across the country. ICICI Foundation also manages the Rural Self Employment Training Institutes that provide self-employment oriented training to the rural youth. The RSETIs at Udaipur and Jodhpur have trained over 100,000 people. Overall, ICICI Foundation has trained and enabled sustainable livelihood for over 520,000 people. Promoting sustainable use of natural resources, nature and wildlife conservation are integrated in the programs of ICICI Foundation.
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