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November 4, 2009

A Royal Bengal tiger caught and released back in the forest

     Sundarbans (WB): A grown-up adult Royal Bengal tiger of the world famous Sundarbans Tiger Reserve in West Bengal, while on prowl strayed into human habitations recently. Reportedly, the tiger swam across the backwaters of Sunderbans and entered the villages of Sonagaon, Mitrabari and Bijoynagar. Soon the officials of the Forest Department were informed who in turn rushed to the villages, tracked the tiger and trapped it on Saturday. After keeping it under observation of veterinarians for 24 hours, it was released back into its wild habitat of the mangrove forests. The forest rangers and wildlife wardens of the Sunderbans Reserve escorted the caged tiger in a boat and let it go. The veterinary doctors certified the tiger absolutely fit to be released back into the wild. "We usually release tigers after examining its normal physiology for 24 hours. We have at least one to two veterinary doctors to examine it and when they give a certificate to release it, and then we do so," said Subrata Mukherjee, Field Director, Sunderban Tiger Reserve, West Bengal. He further mentioned that the tiger was healthy. He ruled out the reports that the tigers are coming out of their mangrove forests due to shortage of natural prey. "It has been said that Sunderbans tigers are coming out due to lack of prey inside but it doesn't seem though. If we look at this particular tiger it is very healthy and the tigers we have come across in the past have been healthy as well," Mukherjee added. The Sunderbans spread over 26,000 square kilometres of low-lying swamps on India's border with Bangladesh. It is dotted with hundreds of small islands criss-crossed by backwater channels and saline streams. Once home to 500 tigers in the late 1960s, the Sunderbans today boasts of tigers numbering between 250 and 270. However, the Indian Statistical Institute said the number is as low as 75.
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