The West Bengal government for the first time will conduct tiger census through DNA sampling of the animal's scat in Sunderbans in January next year.
Till now, pug marks were used to count the tigers, but there was always controversy regarding the veracity
During the 2006 census, the state government had rejected the Indian Statistical Institute's claim that there were not more than 70 tigers in Sunderbans, the world's largest delta.
"Sunderbans is not like Buxa or any other tiger reserve.
The terrain here is very difficult and requires a special method. So we will go for DNA sampling which will be used for the first time to estimate the number of tigers," Sunderbans Biosphere Reserve (SBR) director Pradeep Vyas told PTI.
The census would be held in January and February next year. DNA profiling of the tiger's scat will be done to count the animals, he said.
"It will provide the exact number of big cats in the mangrove habitat. We are sure we can do it," Vyas said, adding that lightweight 'tiger guards' would be provided to the scat collectors.