The Mangrove forest of the Sundarbans is the home for the Bengal tiger which is fast disappearing and jeopardizing the fate of this endangered (listed “Endangered” under the IUCN Red List of Species) animal. The massive depletion in the forest layer of Mangrove due to regular cyclones in the area, poaching, deforestation resulting in as much as 200m of coastline disappearing in a single year, according to a report by scientists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). This has been proven that one of only a handful of remaining forests is big enough to hold several hundred tigers. Due to the vast reduction in mangrove cover, we are somehow daily moving a step closer to the extinction of these majestic animals.
Bengal Tiger sightings around villages around the Sundarbans National Park are nothing new. Due to inadequate housing and food shortages, they occasionally enter the locality and endanger their own lives and the lives of the villagers as well. Nevertheless, the presence of this apex predator always creates panic among the villagers. The latest case has been reported in February 2022 when villagers of Mathurapur block II near the Purba Sridharpur forests located fresh pugmarks in close proximity to the village.
The tiger (12-13’ long and 4-4:30’ height) first emerges from the jungle of Bisalakkhi. From there it comes to Dubochora Island. After 1 month, the tiger has been seen in Damkal and Sahe’s island. For a month or so the tiger has been roaming between Sahe’s island and Bhubaneswari island.
Mukti Core Committee Member Mr. Yasim Gazi has been monitoring the tiger steps with some volunteers as there are several incidents of tigers entering the locality. Mukti volunteers, with the help of villagers, detonate firecrackers and stop the tiger from entering the village. Mukti volunteers inform the Forest Department at Raidighi. On receiving the pugmark evidence, the Forest Department team has promptly started putting up nylon fencing around the reported area. They also set up a trap cage with a goat to lure the tiger.
After 15-20 days of hard work, the tiger came to eat that goat on 21st February 2022 and get trapped. The caged tiger has been instantaneously sent to the Jharkhali Tiger Project so that no one can harm him. On the decision of the Forest Department officials, the tiger has been released to the jungle.
In the pursuit of Mukti, none of the villagers of PurbaSridharpur village have been killed or harmed during the rescue operation.