12th December 2021 : A Royal Bengal Tiger has been spotted in Buxa tiger reserve in Alipurduar, North Bengal, after at least 23 years.
A few days ago, a pugmark was found near the river bank in Buxa. But there was no hard evidence that it was that of a tiger, until a picture of a tiger was taken on a trap camera in the forest of East Damanpur of Buxa tiger reserve.
In the early hours of Saturday, one of the camera traps captured the photo of the tiger. It is a full-grown male, according to forest officials.
A tiger was spotted at the Buxa Tiger Reserve in north Bengal after almost two decades, forest officials in West Bengal said.
“We found a few pugmarks on the sand along the river inside the tiger reserve over the last two to three weeks. From the pugmarks it appeared that the animal was staying in the reserve. Thereafter, we set up camera traps. In the early hours of Saturday, one of the camera traps captured the photo of the tiger. It is a full-grown male,” said Debal Roy, chief wildlife warden of West Bengal.
Officials said that though they could find scats and pugmarks of tigers in the tiger reserve in the early 2000, the last photographic evidence dates back to the late Nineties.
“We are very happy. We were certain that there were tigers but there was no photographic evidence and hence many people claimed that tigers have vanished from the tiger reserve. Already two of our teams are camping in the area. On Monday a team from Kolkata will visit the spot,” said Jyotipriyo Mullick, state forest minister.
Officials said that sometimes tigers come to the Buxa Tiger Reserve located in the foothills of the Himalayas from Bhutan and Assam. But this one seems to be residing in the area and not in transit. “We could spot tigers in the day light even in the early 90s. But as human interference increased, particularly in those areas where prey was found, the tiger population declined. Sometimes tigers used to crossover from Bhutan but they avoided the plains because of human interference. Buxa has a low-density habitat. We need to bring down human interference to bring them back,” said Pradeep Vyas, former chief wildlife warden of the state.
Officials said that there are at least 11 villages in the tiger reserve. The state government is planning to rehabilitate them with the help from the Centre.