How many tigers live in the Sundarbans 2021?

Sundarbans
Sundarbans. Photo: Lynne Buchanan Photography
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It is claimed that there are 210 tigers in the Sundarbans (the combined Indian and Bangladesh portions) as at 2021 but a new count is required on the Bangladesh side, it seems. Also I would not be entirely confident about tiger count numbers. They are not that reliable. For the sake of clarity there are two sides to this nature reserve: the Indian and the Bangladeshi as it straddles the border. Sundarbans means “beautiful forest” in the local Bengali dialect.

Sundarbans Bengal tiger
Sundarbans Bengal tiger. Photo: Wikipedia
Sundarbans reserve straddles India Bangladesh border
Sundarbans reserve straddles India Bangladesh border. Image: TripAdvisor

Bangladesh Sundarbans

A 2021 tiger count of the Bangladesh Sundarbans as reported in the United News of Bangladesh (UNB) concluded that there were 114 at that time. In 2015 the number was 106. Wikipedia says that there are more than 400 tigers in all of the reserve. They don’t quote a reference. But if they are correct the Indian side of the Sundarbans in West Bengal contains about 286 tigers. This looks incorrect, see below.

Indian Sundarbans

The Hindu newspaper states that there are 96 tigers in the Sundarbans as estimated by the West Bengal Forest Department. This count is for the West Bengal part of the world’s largest mangrove delta. The number comes from a camera trap census carried out by the state forest department for December 2020 to February 2021, known as the Phase IV Estimation.

If this is true we can combine the West Bengal Sundarbans census of 96 with the Bangladesh census of 114 to make a grand total of 210 total number of tigers in this important tiger reserve at 2021.

Sundarbans Bengal tiger
Sundarbans Bengal tiger. Photo: Pixabay.

Fresh census needed

There are calls for a fresh count of all wildlife species in the Bangladesh Sundarbans as there is constant pressure by human activities. There are fears that many species are drifting towards extinction in this 6,017 sq. km mangrove forest.

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