World Tiger Day: Various initiatives of Bangladesh forest department for tiger protection
The Forest Department (Bangladesh) has taken more steps to protect tigers, such as declaring more than half of the entire Sundarbans in Bangladesh part as a protected forest for the free movement of tigers.
In addition, the expansion of patrol outposts introduced modern technology-based smart patrols to curb poachers’ activities and close all pass-permits during the breeding season. In this situation, International Tiger Day was celebrated silently on July 29, 2021.
The total area of Sundarbans is 10,000 km2 (1,000,000ha), of which 60% lies in Bangladesh and the rest in India. In Bangladesh, its total land area and sandbars occupy 414,259 ha (70%), with water bodies covering 187,413 ha (30%).
Meanwhile, the number of tigers increased to 114 in 2018 from 106 surveys conducted in 2015 in the Bangladesh part at Sundarbans.
It means the number of tigers in the Sundarbans has increased only six in the previous four years. According to the latest tiger survey, there are 114 tigers in the Sundarbans, according to the camera tracking survey.
According to the Forest Department, according to a survey conducted in 1975, there were 350 tigers in the Sundarbans. In 1982, according to a study, it rose to 425, and in 1984, it reported that there had 430 to 450 tigers, according to conducting a survey in the Sundarbans South Wildlife Sanctuary covered by 110 sq. km area.
Similarly, in 1992, it reduced to 359 as reported by the Forest Department, Bangladesh. According to a survey conducted by Dhan Bahadur Tamang in 1993, 362 tigers were reported within an area of 350 sq. km. in the Sundarbans.
The number of tigers in the 2004’s survey was 440. The number of tigers was 350 to 400 as per a survey conducted from 1996-97. At that time, the calculation was done using the tiger footprints method.
According to the 2015 survey, the number of tigers in the Sundarbans in Bangladesh has dropped at an alarming figure that of 106. According to the latest camera tracking survey, the number of tigers in the Sundarbans has increased to 114 from 108.
Zoologists and environmentalists have identified nine causes for the death of tigers in the Sundarbans. These include natural disasters, storms, floods, liver cirrhosis diseases due to increased tidal salinity, food crisis, and lack of freshwater, deforestation, poaching, and lack of tiger habitat, unplanned tourism, and environmental pollution due to uncontrolled movement of water vehicles within forests. Along with this, they have made various recommendations for the protection of tigers, including conservation of habitat, development of controlled tourism in the forest, and stopping fishing with poison.
Sardar Lutfar Rahman, UP member and president of the Sundarbans Fishermen’s Association of Koira, said the increase in the number of tigers in the Sundarbans was undoubtedly a matter of happiness. If the Sundarbans, the habitat of tigers, can be made safer, the number of tigers will definitely increase.
Saiful Islam Ghazi, a member of the Sundarbans management executive committee, said that a massive public awareness has already been created in the local area for the safe return of tigers to the forest. Due to which people no longer beat tigers.
Dr. Sk Amir Hossain, Professor of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, Khulna University, Khulna, said tigers do not come to the locality unless they are extremely hungry.
In addition, many tigers have died due to coming to the locality. For this, it is necessary to ensure the food of tigers in the deep forest inside the Sundarbans. We have to try to breed tigers there.
Dr. Sheikh Faridul Islam, chairperson, Save The Sundarban Foundation (SSF), which works with Wildlife and Biodiversity in the Sundarbans, said that the number of tigers in the Sundarbans has decreased at an alarming rate. It is a kind of threat to the tiger species.
“However, if the conditions of the 52% protected forest area of the Sundarbans are fully implemented; the tigers along with other animals of the Sundarbans will be able to roam in a sublime manner. Moreover, this sublime movement will increase the reproduction of tigers,” he added.
Abu Nasser Mohsin Hossain, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Sundarbans West Division, Bangladesh, said the number of tigers in the Sundarbans had risen in the latest survey due to the surrender of forest bandits to return to normal life and reduced poaching by poachers.
In the meantime, more than half of the entire Sundarbans has been declared as a protected forest for the free movement of tigers, including breeding and lineage growth. He also said that the forest department (Bangladesh) is working hard to make the Sundarbans completely safe for wildlife.