Adding yet another dimension to their definitive partnership, Discovery India and WWF India have once again come together to protect the world’s only mangrove tiger population. The Sundarbans, with a thriving tiger population, presents a unique but challenging landscape for conservation. Ensuring effective protection for tigers and their prey while reducing tiger attacks on humans within the mangrove forests, are critical. Additionally, an integrated approach is required for biodiversity conservation in the Indian Sundarbans given the impacts of high-intensity weather events in the coastal areas and the high human dependence on natural resources in this fragile ecosystem.
To enhance the region’s monitoring and protection, the Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve Directorate (SBR Directorate) and WWF India, supported by Discovery India has introduced M.V. Aranya Prohori, a mobile monitoring boat, in the 24 Parganas (South) Forest Division. The 24 Parganas (South) Forest Division, a Conservation Assured Tiger Standards (CA|TS) accredited site, holds a high tiger density based on systematic and scientific monitoring.
The Sundarbans mangrove forests receive fair weather for only four months. The rest of the year, monitoring inside the forests and in extreme weather events is a challenge for the forest staff. Their presence inside the park is a priority for any swift response to address conservation challenges. The support will help the SBR Directorate to improve the monitoring of ecologically important tiger habitats such as the 24 Parganas (South) Forest Division and strengthen efforts to combat wildlife poaching and other illegal activities.
The initiative is part of a long-term partnership between WWF India and Discovery to protect Sundarbans, including an integrated approach to prioritize habitat management, prevent and manage human-wildlife conflict, and build resilient communities.
Ajoy Kumar Das, Joint Director, Sundarban Biosphere Reserve: The support from WWF India and Discovery India Communications will strengthen the ongoing efforts for tiger conservation at 24 Paraganas (South) Forest Division - the first mangrove tiger landscape to be CA|TS accredited. The 24X7 monitoring boat will strengthen our on-ground monitoring efforts even during extreme weather events. We acknowledge the support provided to local communities in this region towards building their resilience and expanding their livelihood assets. We look forward to a long-term association with WWF India and Discovery India Communications.
Megha Tata, Managing Director- South Asia, Discovery Communications India: “The project at Sundarbans, in continuation with our ongoing efforts for Tiger conservation, is part of a global movement aimed at building healthy habitats for Tigers conserving acres of protected land across four countries. We remain steadfast to leverage the brand strength to galvanize people for the cause of Tigers and other endangered species.” She added, “I have always enjoyed visiting Sundarbans to live the experience; owing to the current restrictions, I am unable to travel to the land; however, I would want nothing more than protecting and preserving the world’s only mangrove tiger population and reduce human-tiger conflicts.”
Dr. Dipankar Ghose, Director, Wildlife and Habitats Programme, WWF India: "For 24 Parganas (South) Forest Division, a CA|TS certified site with a sizeable tiger population, strengthening protection measures will result in effective tiger conservation. A close collaboration of all stakeholders is also crucial for ensuring this unique ecosystem's long-term conservation.”