Increasing incidents of tigers intruding human habitats around the Sunderban sanctuary have raised concerns among the forest officials, even as animal activists blame imbalance of the eco-system caused by shortage of prey for such incursions.
Though 21 incidents of intrusion recorded this year, authorities ruled out the dwindling prey base as the reason and claimed that this was a natural phenomenon.
The big cats were emerging from forests not because of lack of prey. If there was a shortage of deer and wild boar, this would have been reflected in their health, Sunderbans Tiger Reserve (STR) Field Director Subrat Mukherjee told PTI.
He said that such incidents become of much concerns when highlighted by the media. "Now whenever a tiger strays, it is reported in the media which was not done in the past."
However, the authorities have decided to increase the height of nylon net fencing around villages to prevent intrusion by tigers, he said.
Director of Sunderban biosphere reserve N C Bahuguna also said that straying of tigers was a natural phenomenon but added that lack of fresh water in the forests after cyclone 'Aila' might be a reason for increase in such incidents.
"Tigers in the Sunderbans drink saline water, but at times they also need sweet water," he said.