ibnlive » India

May 18, 2012 at 11:51am IST

Protecting the Sunderbans' tigers

The Sunderbans: The Ganga ends its journey in the Bay of Bengal, forming one of the largest delta in the world. Here, the nature is at its pristine best. Despite the difficult terrain, scientists are now using modern technology to count tigers.

An odd-looking camera trap, with a sensor inside it, is used to click pictures of the big cat. For this, the scientists must select an ideal spot, where the cameras will remain secure, and which is also frequented by the big cat.

Says Ratul Saha, scientist, WWF-India, "From the month of January, we started the camera traps in the south forest division. We deployed about 41 camera traps there and the minimum estimate of tigers was found to be 20. We may have missed many but the minimum number counted by the camera traps was 20 individuals at the said forest division."

Each tiger has its own individual stripes and it is their markings that are used to count how many tigers are there.

The unique technology of the camera traps has revealed many hidden jewels of the forest, for instance, a melanistic leopard cat! It basically means an animal with a darker body colour because of excessive melanin.

It may not be a new species, but it's still a new record for Sunderbans! And then there's the images of the elusive tigers!

It's almost like getting a peep into secret lives of these animals, without their knowing!

In the watery world here, there are creatures of all shapes. I watch as a fiddler crab carves out mud with minute intricacy and then seals its home, so it’s not flooded when the high tide comes in. Even on the last leg of her journey, the Ganga is undiminished in her grandeur.