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Dhaka Tribune

More than just a symbol

The primary threats to Bengal tigers are poaching and the expansion of human settlements into tiger habitats

Update : 23 May 2019, 11:55 PM

Few things truly capture the spirit of Bangladesh like the Bengal tiger.

It is of paramount importance, then, that we do all we can to protect this magnificent creature, which for quite some time now has been endangered.

A recent tiger census gives us some very welcome news: The number of Bengal tigers in the Bangladeshi side of the Sundarbans has risen to 114 -- up from the previously recorded number of 106.

Of course, the number is still dangerously low, but the recent increase is a sign that conservation efforts are paying off, and we need to stay on track so that our tiger population in the wild can truly flourish.

The environment, forest, and climate change minister is right to point out that saving our tigers is a national duty -- the entire delicate eco-system of the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world, could collapse if the Bengal tiger disappears.

The primary threats to Bengal tigers are, of course, poaching and the expansion of human settlements into tiger habitats -- and it is important to put a stop to both of these phenomena; for that, conservation must be prized over short-term human interests. 

For too long, in our rush towards economic growth, we have underestimated the need to protect nature, but we must realize that the Sundarbans provides incalculable benefits to the country and economy, and it acts as a natural bulwark against the sea -- the Bengal tiger is crucial to the Sundarbans sustaining its ecological balance.

In that respect, the tiger is so much more than just a symbol -- it is a treasure that enriches the entire nation.

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