Cyclone Yaas: Breeding centres for Crocodiles, Batagur Baska inundated
New Delhi, May 28: Nylon net fencing to prevent tigers from entering human habitations were damaged, breeding centres for crocodiles and Batagur baska - a rare species of turtle were inundated, as Cyclone Yaas has severely damaged the Sunderban Tiger Reserve (STR), an official said on Thursday.
The majority of the 40 protection camps used by the forest department personnel in the Sunderbans were also inundated following a downpour induced by the cyclone on Wednesday, Chief Wildlife Warden V K Yadav said.
"Since most of the area is under water now, it is difficult to ascertain actual damage," Yadav told PTI.
He said that more than 25 km of nylon net fencing is damaged as per a preliminary report from the STR.
"The conservation breeding pool, as well as the isolation pools of Batagur Baska, were submerged, the senior forest official said.
He said that four such turtles were rescued, while 35 others have been kept at a secure place in Sajnekhali.
There has been damage to Bhagabatpur crocodile breeding centre due to submergence, though the 300-odd crocodiles kept there are safe, Yadav said.
He said that 25 spotted deer escaped from Bakkhali forest camp and they are now in nearby forests and not in human habitation.
Four deer were also rescued from Dulki, Sonagaon, Dayapur and Jhingakhali, a source in the forest department said.
Following report of tiger straying into Paikpara, Moipith, Nalgora beat and Raidighi range, the forest department staff reached the spot observed pug marks of fishing cat only.
"Our teams are in touch with villagers and the Joint Forest Management Committee to keep watch on straying of any tiger," Yadav said.
As per a recent survey by the department, the number of Royal Bengal Tigers in the Sunderbans is 96.
The forest department source said that 17 camps in the STR area were inundated and the personnel were facing scarcity of drinking water as saline water entered camps following breaching of embankments.
The camps have no power as the solar panels along with other equipment were damaged.
The STR is one of the first nine Tiger Reserves declared under the Project Tiger scheme in 1973.
The STR is home to a large number of endangered and globally threatened species such as tiger, fishing cat, estuarine crocodile, Gangetic and Irrawady Dolphin, king cobra and water monitor lizard.