Tiger attacks in the Sundarbans, in India and Bangladesh are estimated to kill from 0-50 (mean of 22.7 between 1947 and 1983) people per year.The Sundarbans is home to over 100 Bengal tigers, one of the largest single populations of tigers in one area. Before modern times, Sundarbans tigers were said to "regularly kill fifty or sixty people a year".
These tigers are slightly smaller and slimmer than those elsewhere in India but remain extremely powerful and are infamous for destroying small wooden boats. They are not the only tigers who live close to humans; in Bandhavgarh, villages encircle the tiger reserves, and yet attacks on people are rare. Although attacks were stalled temporarily in 2004 with new precautions, they have been on the rise. This is particularly due to the devastation on the Bangladeshi side of the swamp caused by Cyclone Sidr which has deprived tigers of traditional food sources (due to the natural upheaval) and has pushed them over towards the more populated Indian side of the swamp.
The locals and government officials take certain precautions to prevent attacks. Local Hindu fishermen will say prayers and perform rituals to the forest goddess Bonbibi before setting out on expeditions. Invocations to the tiger god Dakshin Ray are also considered a necessity by the local populace for safe passage throughout the Sundarbans area. Fishermen and bushmen originally created masks made to look like faces to wear on the back of their heads because tigers always attack from behind. This worked for a short time, but the tigers quickly caught on to the ruse, and the attacks reportedly continued. One local honey gatherer, Surendra Jana, 57, summarised the general feeling of the tigers adapting to their efforts: "Before we could understand the way they attacked...We don't feel safe any more, knowing our brothers have been attacked in spite of the tricks we use."Government officials wear stiff pads that rise up the back of the neck, similar to the pads of an American football player. This is to prevent the tigers from biting into the spine, which is their favoured attack method.
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No one is exactly sure why the tigers of the Sundarbans are so aggressive towards humans, but scientists, biologists, and others have speculated about a number of reasons. These include:
About 5,000 people frequent the swamps and waterways of the Sundarbans. Fishing boats traverse the area and many stop to collect firewood, honey and other items. In the dark forest, tigers find it easy to stalk and attack men absorbed in their work. Even fishermen in small boats have been attacked due to tigers' strong swimming abilities.
Local villagers, who fear tiger attacks and resent the animal for killing their livestock, sometimes engage in revenge killings. On one occasion, a tiger had attacked and wounded the people in a village in south-west Bangladesh (near the Sundarbans) and frequently preyed upon their livestock. This roused the wrath of the villagers, and the feline became a target for their retribution. Poachers are also responsible for killing tigers in the reserve in an effort to sell them on the black market.
The human death rate has dropped significantly due to better management techniques and fewer people are killed each year. Even at the rate of fifty or sixty kills per year, humans would provide only about three percent of the yearly food requirements for the tiger population of the Sundarbans. Thus, humans are only a supplement to the tiger's diet; they do not provide a primary food source.This does not mean that the notoriety associated with this area is unfounded. Even if only 3% of a tiger's diet is human meat, that still amounts to the tiger killing and eating about one person per year, given the amount of food a tiger typically eats.
Villagers in the area have agreed to occasionally release livestock into the forest in order to provide an alternative food source for the tigers and discourage them from entering the villages. The government has agreed to subsidize the project to encourage village participation.
The Bengal tiger is a population of the Panthera tigris tigris subspecies and the nominate tiger subspecies. It ranks among the biggest wild cats alive today. It is considered to belong to the world's charismatic megafauna.
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 from 1989.
Sundarbans is a mangrove area in the delta formed by the confluence of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna Rivers in the Bay of Bengal. Sundarban Reserve Forest (SRF) of Bangladesh is the largest mangrove forest in the world. It spans the area from the Baleswar River in Bangladesh's division of Khulna to the Hooghly River in India's state of West Bengal. It comprises closed and open mangrove forests, land used for agricultural purpose, mudflats and barren land, and is intersected by multiple tidal streams and channels. Sundarbans is home to the world's largest area of mangrove forests. Four protected areas in the Sundarbans are enlisted as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, viz. Sundarbans West (Bangladesh), Sundarbans South (Bangladesh), Sundarbans East (Bangladesh) and Sundarbans National Park (India).
The Champawat Tiger was a Bengal Tigress responsible for an estimated 436 deaths in Nepal and the Kumaon division of India, during the last years of the 19th century and the first years of the 20th century. Her attacks have been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the highest number of fatalities from a tiger. She was shot and killed in 1907 by a then 31-year-old Jim Corbett.
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Tiger attacks are a form of human–wildlife conflict which have killed more humans than attacks by any of the other big cats. The most comprehensive study of deaths due to tiger attacks estimates that at least 373,000 people died due to tiger attacks between 1800 and 2009 averaging about 1800 kills per year, the majority of these attacks occurring in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Southeast Asia.
Land of the Tiger is a BBC nature documentary series exploring the natural history of the Indian subcontinent, first transmitted in the UK on BBC Two in 1997. The production team covered the breadth and depth of India, from the Himalayan mountains in the north to the reef-fringed islands of the Indian Ocean, to capture footage of the country's wild places and charismatic wildlife.
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Bhopal is the capital of Madhya Pradesh state of India.
Sundarbans East Wildlife Sanctuary, a protected forest in Bangladesh, extends over an area of 31,227 ha. of mangrove forest. It was established in 1977 under the Bangladesh Wildlife (Preservation) (Amendment) Act, 1974, having previously been a forest reserve. It is the most fertile of the three, non-adjoining wildlife sanctuaries established in the Sundarbans at that time, the others being the Sundarbans West Wildlife Sanctuary and the Sundarbans South Wildlife Sanctuary. The dominant mangrove species is "sundri" from which the Sundarbans region gets its name.
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WildTeam is an international conservation organisation which began in 2003 as The Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh and the Sundarbans tiger project. The Sundarbans Tiger project started out as a Bangladesh Forest Department and University of Minnesota research initiative; focusing on the ecology and conservation of tigers in the Bangladesh Sundarbans. Between 2003 and 2008, the Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh carried out research and education work in relation to Bengal tiger, Hoolock gibbon, Asian elephant, and Asian black bear.
Environmental impact of development in the Sundarbans, is the study of environmental impact on Sundarban, the largest single tract mangrove forest. It consist of a geographical area of 9,629 square kilometres (3,718 sq mi), including 4,185 square kilometres (1,616 sq mi) of reserve forest land, and is a natural region located partly in southern Bangladesh and partly in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is ecologically a southern part of the Gangetic delta between the Hooghly river in India on the west and the Meghna river in Bangladesh on the east and is bounded by the Ganga-Padma, the Padma-Meghna on the north and by the Bay of Bengal on the south. The area that is not reserve forest land is inhabited by human settlements with a total population around 4 million (2003).
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The Sundarbans settlements refer to the areas of the Sundarbans that were cleared of forests for human habitation in the present North 24 Paganas and the South 24 Parganas districts in the Indian state of West Bengal.