Rare tiger sighting in north Bengal prompts deployment of camera traps

Kolkata, Jan 20 (IANS) In a rare sighting, a tiger was spotted in the Neora Valley National Park in the hills of north Bengal at an elevation of 6,000 to 8,000 feet, prompting the forest department to install camera traps in the region.

This was the first photographic evidence of the big cat in the hills in more than three decades, officials said.

“This is very important as in the last 30 to 40 years, we have not seen any photographic evidence. This apart, we have also started a project to know the status of tigers in north Bengal. This is a three year project and it was launched two months ago,” Chief Wildlife Warden Pradeep Vyas told IANS.

The big cat was spotted by the driver of a private vehicle on Thursday morning while he was on his way from Pedong to Lava inside the national park. He managed to click a photograph of the animal and alerted the forest department.

The sighting comes amid doubts of the existence of tigers in the region. Despite reports of ghost sightings, including at Buxa, no photographic evidence was available.

In 2014, a census by the Wildlife Institute of India reported only three tigers in north Bengal.

“The number was based on pugmarks and other indirect evidence,” Vyas said.