, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 205-214
Date: 20 Aug 2011

Tiger straying incidents in Indian Sundarban: statistical analysis of case studies as well as depredation caused by conflict

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Abstract

The Sundarban of India and Bangladesh is the only mangrove reserve forest in the world inhabited by the tiger (Panthera tigris). Tigers in the Sundarban mangrove are widely known for frequently straying into the surrounding reclaimed areas. Data collected from household village survey and documents of the Forest Department show that tiger straying incidents happen throughout the year, but most of them occurred during 3 months (Dec–Feb) of the winter season (42%) followed by 3 months (July–Sept) of the monsoon season (31%). 84.22% of cases have been reported from 21 villages of five affected blocks of Sundarban. In most cases, tigers resorted to cattle lifting or poultry feeding. Only in 8.9% of the cases were human beings attacked or killed. Majority of the straying tigers (68.46%) were male. In most cases (78.9%) strayed tigers were aged and 22% of these were partly injured. 96.05% straying occurs during night. This study also aims at exploring the causes of frequent straying, livestock and human casualties as a result of conflict and retaliation killing of tigers. Straying frequency is correlated negatively with the width of the creeks or rivers in the village side and no relationship is identified with the area of the forest block as well as natural prey abundance. Overall, improved nylon fencing, increased patroling, establishment of the Forest Protection Committee (FPC) and the Eco Development Committee (EDC) are not associated with reduction of straying frequency as well as livestock losses to tiger straying.

Communicated by C. Gortázar