Context: The recent estimation of tiger numbers in the Indian Sunderbans indicates an increase in the population of big cats.

More about the news:

  • The estimation exercise was carried out using camera traps in two phases: 
    • The first period commencing on December 16 and ending on January 13, and 
    • The second phase starting on January 22 and ending on February 19.
  • According to the West Bengal Forest Department, the tiger count for the year 2019-20 rose to 96, from 88 in 2018-19.
  • An increase in the number by eight is considered significant as it is the biggest annual jump reported from the Sunderbans. Previously, the highest yearly increase of tigers in the Sunderbans had been seven.

About The Sunderban mangrove forest

  • It is spread over 2,585 sq. km and includes the Sundarban Tiger Reserve and the 24 Parganas (South) Division.
  • It is a UNESCO world heritage site as well as a Ramsar site.
  • Estimation of the number of tigers in the Sunderbans has always been a challenge due to the difficult terrain that comprises dense mangrove forests, with creeks and rivulets, and floods twice a day during the high tides.


About Bengal tiger

  • Scientific name: Panthera tigris 
  • The Bengal Tiger was declared as the national animal of India in April 1973
  • Conservation status:
    • Wildlife protection Act: Schedule 1
    • CITES: Appendix 1
    • IUCN:


  • Threats: Poaching, loss, and fragmentation of habitat

Image Source: TH