Tiger population increases with a ray of hope
It's good to note that the number of Royal Bengal Tigers in Bangladesh's Sundarbans area has increased for the first time in 15 years following a major crackdown against poachers in the world's largest mangrove forest. A tiger census report released by the forestry department showed that the number of the famed big cats in the Bangladeshi part of the mangroves has increased to 114 from 106 four years ago. We appreciate the relevant authorities' pragmatic measures like doubling the size of the wildlife sanctuary in the forest and launching of crackdown against poachers that contributed to this success.
Alarm bells were raised in 2015 when a census found that only 106 tigers were living in the forest, less than a quarter of the 440-strong population in 2004. The sight of the big cat in the Sundarbans was becoming rare due to the fast decline in the tiger population resulting from unabated poaching. This cast doubts about the survival prospects of this majestic animal in the world's biggest mangrove forest.
The Bangladesh part of the Sundarbans is bigger than the Indian one in terms of acreage. But the number of tigers dwelling in the Indian part has outnumbered the tigers living in the Bangladesh part of the forest. The number of tigers in Bangladesh should have been much more than the Indian one. But the reverse is occurring. It is very unfortunate. Indiscriminate poaching of tigers was mainly responsible for the decline in tiger population. Over the past few years, tigers have been falling victim to mindless human cruelty perpetrated on them.
Since the hides and skins and other organs of tiger have great demand in the local and the international markets, a section of greedy people were engaged in killing tigers. Some dishonest forest department officials were abetting the crime in exchange for hefty bribes. There is no scope for expressing complacency due to rise in the number of tigers since the latest number is a far cry from restoring the actual number of big cats a century earlier.
Sustained efforts are needed to raise the number to a satisfactory level. Tigers, our valuable national asset, should be conserved at all costs. Efforts should be made so that the natural habitat of tigers is not destroyed due to human intervention. Creation of awareness for increasing tiger population is needed.
Finally, apart from anthropogenic causes it's also time to save the Royal Bengal Tigers from the uncalled for repercussions of climate change. The Department of Environment (DoE) coupled with climate change and wildlife experts must come along to ensure stable growth and sustainability of our tigers.