Beautiful Tigers in the Grip of the Fur Trade : Will Royal Bengal Tigers in Sundarban Bangladesh Become Extinct?
In the natural world, the tiger’s only predator is man: in particular, poachers hunting them for their fur. There are as few as 3,000 tigers left in the wild. We have to act now or this iconic animal could be extinct in less than 20 years.
In Bangladesh, the National Animal is the tiger. Even our national cricket team is named the Royal Bengal Tigers, after this glorious animal.
Tigers in Bangladesh live in the world’s largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans. The Sundarbans itself is on the brink of total destruction due to human’s greed: the present government has permitted an Indian company to establish a power generation plant. The whole world is protesting this grave environmental issue. More than more than 350 rivers in India originate from tiger reserves. These reserves also sequester carbon, provide oxygen and slowly release groundwater to regulate floods. Protecting the tiger will in turn protect these vital habitats.
Bengal tigers live mainly in India, where there are 2,226 nationwide, with smaller populations in Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Myanmar. The tiger population in the Sundarbans is far less than believed, officials say, after the results of a census came to light. Some 440 tigers were recorded during the previous census in 2004, yet only around 100 tigers now remain.
Monirul Khan, a zoology professor at Bangladesh Jahangirnagar University and the nation’s foremost tiger expert, said the survey confirmed his worst fears. “It seems the population has declined more than we had feared,” Khan said, saying his studies showed the figure was no more than 200. Khan said the government needed to do more to protect the animals, whose numbers were shrinking because of poaching and rapid development on the edge of the forest.
YV Jhala, professor at the Wildlife Institute of India, told AFP the new figure was the “reality”. “The 440 figure was a myth and an imagination. Bangladesh parts of the Sundarbans with its prey size can support up to 200 tigers,” he said, also urging authorities to act to better protect the cats.
If Royal Bengal tigers are fully eliminated from the Sunderbans in recent future, how can we claim that they are our National Animal? It is clear that some influential people are behind the killing of tigers for their valuable hide. Bangladesh Government seems to be doing nothing to protect the Royal Bengal Tiger from the poachers.
About the Author
Paul P. Saha is a professional consultant who actively serves 300 government registered NGOs in Bangladesh. The last 30 years, he has been effectively and successfully showing his extraordinary contribution in preservation of human rights to the disadvantaged and vulnerable girls and women.