With cyclone 'Amphan' set to lash coastal areas of Bengal on May 20, the forest department on Tuesday formed rapid response teams to ensure that tigers from Sundarbans in South 24 Parganas district do not stray into nearby human settlements after the landfall.
Chief Wildlife Warden Ravi Kant Sinha said a control room has been set up at Gosaba area in the district by the forest department to monitor the situation in the mangrove jungles 24x7.
The department's central control room in Salt Lake area will be in constant touch with the Gosaba unit and keep a close watch on wildlife movement in the forest.
If there are attempts by tigers to stray from the core reserve area into the contiguous villages, we will be able to notice that from the two control rooms and our rapid response teams will take steps to send back the animal to its habitat," he explained.
The response teams have been deployed in Sajnekhali and Jharkhali areas of South 24 Parganas with tranquiliser guns, net and speed boats to negotiate the creeks crisscrossing the forest.
Asked if there were chances of depletion in tiger prey base such as the deer population if the cyclone ravages the coastal areas of the state, Sinha said, "Measures will be taken depending on the situation."
The number of tigers in Sunderbans, the world's largest mangrove forest, stands at 96 -- with 73 being in the core reserve area and 23 in the adjacent parts.
A forest department official said residents, especially the fishermen community, in Gosaba, Dayapur, Balidwip, Sajnekhali, Pakhirala, among other nearby areas have been asked to exercise caution while venturing out.
"We are using microphones to warn people against venturing out into the tiger reserve to catch crabs, shrimps or collect honey," Sinha added.
Amphan is expected to make landfall on Wednesday afternoon between Digha in West Bengal and Hatia island in Bangladesh as an extremely severe cyclonic storm with wind speeds ranging up to 195 kmph.