Tigers will only survive if the Sundarbans survives, says Sultana Kamal
Green activists have called on the authorities to make the Sundarbans suitable for the habitation of tigers.
They shared their stories on tigers and the Sundarbans which reflected the locals’ love and respect for the mangrove forest and its inhabitants, according to a press release issued by Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bapa).
The webinar, "Tigers’ Stories on Tiger Day", was organized by Bapa marking the International Tiger Day 2021 on Thursday.
The webinar highlighted the number of tigers declining far below the national target, tigers invading localities due to a lack of food, and unplanned industrialization in the area.
Bapa President Sultana Kamal said that the Sundarbans, as it is now, does not have a favourable environment for the tigers to live in.
Tigers will survive if the Sundarbans survives, she said, adding: “Tigers represent our courage, strength and culture, and it is our duty to protect them.”
Stating that the government has never given importance to saving tigers, Sultana demanded that the Sundarbans be made suitable for tiger habitat.
Fariduddin Ahmed, co-convener of Bapa’s committee on forests, biodiversity, natural resources and energy, called for ensuring food supply for the tigers in the Sundarbans.
“I ask all to ask the government to stop disturbing the biodiversity there,” he added.
In his remarks, Prof Monirul H Khan of Jahangirnagar University’s zoology department said that the Sundarbans and the tigers living there are the country’s pride.
“I urge the government to take all steps necessary to keep that pride intact,” he said.
Dr MA Aziz, a professor of the same department, said that there is no alternative to conserving the Sundarbans if its tiger population is to be protected.
“Many tigers die after consuming meat poisoned by the poachers – a practice the government has failed to put an end to. The number of spotted deer, the main food of the tigers in the Sundarbans, has also been declining for various reasons, leading to a severe lack of tiger food,” Aziz said.
Pashur River Waterkeeper Nur Alam Sheikh said: “The number of tigers in the Sundarbans is decreasing day by day. Apart from shortage of food, the forest has become inappropriate for the tigers due to unplanned trade and industrialization surrounding the forest.”
In his speech, former Bagerhat Press Club president Ahad Haider demanded exemplary punishment for the tiger poachers.
Bangladesh conducted its first tiger census in 2015, when the number stood at an estimated population of 83 to 130 tigers.
The latest census of 2018 says that Bangladesh has 114 tigers right now. The country needs 52 more tigers to meet its target.