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West Bengal: Tiger spotted at Buxa reserve after 23 years

🔴 Last month, a black panther was also captured in the camera traps set up at the Buxa Tiger Reserve in Alipurduar.

Written by Atri Mitra | Kolkata |
Updated: December 12, 2021 2:24:58 am
State Forest Minister Jyotipriya Mullick said a team of four officers have been sent to North Bengal to assess the situation after the news came in. (File)

A ROYAL Bengal Tiger has been spotted in Buxa tiger reserve in Alipurduar, North Bengal, after at least 23 years, the West Bengal government said on Saturday. State Forest Minister Jyotipriya Mullick said a team of four officials was sent to north Bengal after the news surfaced.

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.

Visitors were allowed to enter many areas at the reserve for picnics for several days. But that changed after getting the news of the tiger. Some villagers in the vicinity of the reserve are being evacuated so that the tiger is “at ease”, official sources said. The tiger is also being monitored so that no human being is harmed, they added.

A forest department official said, “It was in 1998 that images of a Royal Bengal Tiger were captured at the reserve previously. A few days ago, tiger footprints were seen on the river bank in this area. After examination, forest officials and staff became convinced of the presence of a tiger. Thus, a trap camera was introduced in the East Damanpur Range.”

Forest Minister Mullick said, “It is very good news. Without the presence of a tiger, the reserve lost its identity as a tiger reserve from the National Wild Life Board. But now, this will change the entire situation and we have sent a special team to survey the present situation of the reserve.”

Last year, a report released by the Ministry of Environment said Buxa tiger reserve has no tiger. The infrastructure of the reserve forest is not up to the mark for tiger habitation, it added. “Buxa need to be rebuilt as a tiger habitat. Tigers may have been brought from Kaziranga.”

Mullick said, “There are 11 villages inside the core area of the tiger reserve. These villages are the main obstacle to build infrastructure of the tiger reserve. We have already firmed up a project to rehabilitate those families, they will be shifted to a new place. The Centre used to give compensation for this type of rehabilitation. We are planning to urge the Centre to give that compensation and after that we will be able to give the proper environment for the big cat(s).”

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