The fencing that separates the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve from the human habitation was damaged in at least three places as cyclone Amphan has ravaged West Bengal but there was no incident of big cats straying into localities, a top forest department official said.
The control rooms in Gosaba in South 24 Parganas district and Salt Lake near here have not received any incident of tigers or other wild animals straying into adjacent villages in the past three days, Chief Wildlife Warden Ravikant Sinha told PTI.
“There was no report of animal casualty in the core forest area or nearby villages during the cyclone,” he said.
Sinha said parts of the fencing were damaged in Kultali, Bidya, Sajnekhali areas and these affected points are being repaired on an urgent basis by field workers of the forest department.
Lakhs of people were rendered homeless as the cyclone cut a path of destruction through half a dozen districts of West Bengal, including Kolkata, on Wednesday night, blowing away shanties, uprooting thousands of trees besides swamping low-lying areas.
The death toll due to the natural calamity has risen to 85 in the state.
Sinha said the Jharkhali camp, a gateway to the Sunderbans, a vast mangrove forest, was partially affected due to the cyclone, and the sluice gate, which regulates water flow to the camp from nearby creeks, has already been repaired.
Asked about the image of the carcass of a tiger being circulated on social media, Sinha said, “It was not true. All the animals in different zoos and forests including the Sunderbans are safe.”
According to the latest tiger-census, the number of big cats in the Sunderbans Reserve Forest has increased to 96 from the previous estimate of 88.
“Post-Amphan, the number will remain the same,” he said.
A fawn was born at the Jharkhali Deer Park on the day of storm and this is good news, he said.
Meanwhile, Alipore Zoo director Asis Samanta said a total of 35 trees were uprooted in the zoo during the cyclone and the work are being carried out at war footing to clear the area.
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the zoo remains closed since March 17.