World Tiger Day 2020
Tiger, the Sundarbans and our responsibilities
The largest mangrove forest in the world is the Sundarbans, located between India and Bangladesh. Our national animal Royal Bengal Tiger lives only in the Sundarbans. According to the Forest Department survey, the total number of tigers was 440 in 2004 and according to the latest survey in 2016, the number has come down to 114 and 106 were in 2015. In other words, 8 tigers have increased in the last count.
On the other hand, even with the small size of the Sundarbans in India, it can be seen that in 2016, there were 81 tigers in the Sundarbans of India; it has increased to 87 in 2017. And according to the latest survey of 2019, there are 96 tigers in the Sundarbans of India. In other words, the growth rate of tigers is higher in India, although their share in the Sundarbans is lower. Apart from India, Nepal, Russia and Bhutan are also involved in tiger growth.
Determining the reason for the rapid increase in the number of tigers in India, it can be seen that at first they strictly forbade people from entering the Sundarbans. Those living inside the forest also rehabilitated outside the forest. People who lived near Sundarbans, also moved away from the forest. As a result, there is almost no conflict between tigers and humans. Apart from this, the places where tigers roam more in the Sundarbans of India, the movement of people are being prevented by monitoring through CCTV. As a result, not only tigers have increased in India, but also increased the size of the Sundarbans in Indian region.
In the Sundarbans part of Bangladesh, even a few days ago, there were regular gun battles and kidnappings inside the forest. Although it has come down a lot due to the activities of the present law enforcement agencies, many types of crimes are still committed. People are also entering the forest for timber extraction, honey extraction, leaf collection and fishing. As a result, the conflict between humans and tigers is increasing and tigers are also dying. There is also a shortage of tiger food due to deer poaching and other wildlife killings. As a result, due to lack of food, tigers often enter the villages near of the Sundarbans and attack domestic animals. About 38 tigers have been killed in 20 years. Also, as the number of tigers decreases, the chances of inbreeding among them are increasing. This will reduce the risk of genetic diversity and increase the risk of morbidity, which in turn will increase the mortality rate.
Genetic diversity is possible by increasing the number of tigers by reintroducing tigers. The first step is to exchange tigers between safaris and zoos. This will bring about the genetic diversity of tigers in different zoo-safaris through breeding. From there, reintroduction projects can be started with some selected 6-month-old tiger cubs. Next, create a tiger breeding center in the vicinity of the Sundarbans. So that the environment gets close to the Sundarbans. Tiger experts will make these tiger cubs suitable for the Sundarbans and suitable for hunting. When these cubs get adult and give new tiger cubs, these next tiger cubs will be released into the wild. Through this it is possible to increase many tigers within 5 years in Sundarbans.
What else can we do to protect the tiger?
* First of all, public access to the Sundarbans must be stopped and only separate forces must be formed to protect the Sundarbans. This will reduce the number of robberies and traffickers in the Sundarbans.
* People in and around the Sundarbans need to be evacuated and rehabilitated. This will reduce the conflict between humans and tigers.
* By providing easy loans to the people who depend on the Sundarbans, they have to reduce their dependence on the Sundarbans by arranging honey farming, cattle rearing, fish farming, and biogas.
* If fences and solar panels are installed in the middle of the locality along the Sundarbans, the entry of tigers will be reduced.
* All the places in the Sundarbans that are prone to crime should be monitored by installing CCTV.
* Creating deer and pig farms around the Sundarbans for adequate food for tigers and releasing them into the forest through reintroduction will reduce the tiger food crisis as their numbers increase.
* To provide necessary compensation to the families of the people killed / injured in the tiger attack.
The southern part of Bangladesh survives for the Sundarbans. And the Sundarbans has survived for this Bengal Tiger. The role of the Bengal Tiger is most important for the ecology and survival of the Sundarbans. And if this tiger becomes extinct, the ecosystem will be destroyed and the deforestation will be occured, as a result of which the lowlands will be flooded due to the effect of excess tides. This will increase salinity so that crop production can be reduced and poverty in the region will be increased.
Dr Md Shahadat Hossain Suvo is a Deputy
Curator, Chittagong Zoo