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Recently, A tiger population in Sundarbans is declining, it has only been ranked 31st among the 51 tiger reserves in the country when it comes to forest management.
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- The report titled Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of Tiger Reserves 2022, summary version prepared by Wildlife Institute of India and National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), was released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Mysuru along with the ‘Status of Tigers 2022’ report.
- Though Sundarbans has been in the ‘very good’ category in all five assessment cycles, its overall ranking has been consistently declining over the last two decades, from second in 2006 to the current 31st, the MEE reports showed.
- Incidentally, the tiger census report showed that the Sundarbans’ tiger number increased from 88 to 100 between 2018 and 2022.
- Lack of adequate manpower and the vulnerability of the location to climate change and submergence from sea level rise have been identified as the major challenges.
- Senior forest officials of the state argued that the Sundarbans has been doing well in containing major problems like poaching and tiger-human conflict.
- Among the 51 tiger reserves assessed under the fifth cycle, Periyar was found to be the topper with 94.38 per cent score, followed by Satpura with 93.16 per cent.
- Overall, 12 forests were identified as ‘excellent’, 20 ‘very good’, 14 ‘good’ and five ‘fair’ based on 33 parameters. In all, 29 forest reserves improved their respective categories in 2022 compared to the earlier assessment in 2018.
- Though in the ‘very good’ category since 2006, the Sundarbans gradually has been slipping in the overall ranking. It was ranked second in 2006 among 28 tiger reserves assessed, eighth among 39 tiger reserves in 2010, fifth among 42 tiger reserves in 2014, 22nd among 50 tiger reserves in 2018 and 31st among 51 tiger reserves assessed in 2022, according to data available with this reporter.
- Moreover, area development committees need to become functional under divisional commissioners to monitor illegal tourism. Over and above, more management coordination is required between India and Bangladesh Sundarbans forest areas.
- The unique geographic location of the Sundarbans makes it vulnerable to climate change and submergence from sea level rise, the tiger census report flagged.
- The Sundarbans National Park is a national park, tiger reserve and biosphere reserve in West Bengal, India.
- It is part of the Sundarbans on the Ganges Delta and adjacent to the Sundarban Reserve Forest in Bangladesh.
- It is located to south-west of the Bangladesh. The delta is densely covered by mangrove forests, and is one of the largest reserves for the Bengal tiger.
- It is also home to a variety of bird, reptile and invertebrate species, including the salt-water crocodile.
- The present Sundarban National Park was declared as the core area of Sundarban Tiger Reserve in 1973 and a wildlife sanctuary in 1977. On 4 May 1984 it was declared a national park.
- It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site inscribed in 1987, and it has been designated as a Ramsar site since 2019.
- It is considered as a World Network of Biosphere Reserve (Man and Biosphere Reserve) from 1989.
- It then stretched for about 266 kilometres from the mouth of the Hugli to the mouth of the Meghna river and was bordered inland by the three settled districts of the 24 parganas, Khulna and Bakerganj.