Minister Manju made the comment on Saturday amid growing concerns from different groups over the plummeting tiger population in the Sundarbans.
He said: “We have taken up many initiatives to protect the Bengal Tiger. But it is not possible to keep them alive forever.”
The forest minister made the remark while attending an event titled “Greater Dialogue for a Greater Cause” to save the Bengal Tiger population in the Sundarbans.
The event was organised by Bengal Tiger Conservation Activity project (Bagh) of United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in association with the Forest Department and Wild Team.
The session was moderated by Ainun Nishat, professor emeritus of BRAC University.[caption id="attachment_38029" align="aligncenter" width="690"] Photo: Collected[/caption]
The forest minister faced backlash in 2015 for saying the dwindling tiger population was because tigers were “touring the Indian side”.
After the tiger population saw a brief surge in October, he said “Tigers have come back from India and are giving birth to cubs after their trip.”
Addressing Saturday's function, the forest minister said field-level initiatives taken up by the government to protect Sundarbans' tigers are ineffective since local influential political leaders are involved in poaching.
“Tiger conservation is a very difficult task for Bangladesh as around one crore people are dependent on the Sundarbans for their livelihood. Their lives revolve around the forest.
“However, we have deployed coast guard and RAB in Sunbarbans. In addition, alternative employment has been arranged for those dependent on,” he added.
Gary F Collins, chief of USAID's Bagh Activity, said: “The business community is an important part of protecting the ecosystems of the Sundarbans by providing alternative livelihoods for the people there.
Nathan Sage, Deputy Director and Environment & Global Climate Change Leader, USAID said "I think the challenge is to inspire people in protecting tiger...there are many ways to get involved in this activity.”
The Bagh Project is being funded by the USAID and implemented by the Smithsonian Institution and Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies in partnership with WildTeam.
The event was organised as part of creating awareness to conserve Bangladesh’s rich biodiversity through protection of the Bengal Tiger.