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Royal Bengal Tiger spotted in Buxa forest reserve after a 23-year gap

Royal Bengal Tiger (File Photo).

A Royal Bengal Tiger has been spotted in the Buxa tiger reserve in Alipurduar, North Bengal, after at least 23 years, the state’s Forest Minister,  Jyotipriya Mullick, told journalists on Saturday.

The minister said a team of four officials was sent to north Bengal after a trap camera captured a photo of the tiger in the forest of East Damanpur of Buxa tiger reserve.

A few days ago, a pugmark was found near the river bank in Buxa. But the conclusive proof of the tiger was clinched when a picture of the animal was recorded on a trap camera in the forest.

The minister said that the last time a Royal Bengal Tiger was in 1998 and there was a general belief that there were no tigers in Buxa. This misconception has now been removed, he added. 

Visitors have now been barred from going for picnics in the reserve and villagers in the vicinity are being evacuated so that the tiger is not disturbed.  The tiger is also being monitored so that no human being is harmed.

Forest officials said that signs of big cats in Buxa have been found on various occasions which is an indicator that the biodiversity of Buxa is rich and thriving.

The protection level of the habitat and forest has been increased following the sighting of the tiger, officials said.

The minister said in order to avoid a conflict between the big cats and local villagers residing inside the forest, negotiations have been on to voluntarily relocate these families to other favourable areas outside the forest.

Buxa Tiger Reserve in the Alipurduar district of North Bengal covers an area of 760 km2. Around 284 species of birds along with Asian Elephant, Gaur, Sambar deer, Clouded and Indian Leopard are also found in the Reserve.