Tuesday, September 13, 2011

India and Bangladesh Team Up to Save Sunderbans' Tigers

A tiger in the Sunderbans
It has recently been reported that India and Bangladesh have joined hands to save the tiger population in the Sunderbans. A latest tiger census has shown that there are around seventy animals in this remote and mysterious mangrove forest which lies between the two nations along the Ganges Delta. The agreement was a result of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Bangladesh. During his visit, Prime Minister Singh and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina signed a five-year MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) on the Sunderbans. The two prime ministers announced that both the nations will work together closely in patrolling the waterways on each side to prevent any illegal poaching or smuggling activities of the wildlife. Sources say that this is the first major agreement between the two neighbors. According to wildlife experts, efforts to protect the Sunderbans were stalled due to the geographical divide. There was also poor communication between the two countries, which made poaching hard to prosecute in the area. People like S.B Mondal, chief wildlife warden of the Sunderbans biosphere reserve, hopes that the pact will change all of that. Others like Rajesh Gopal, director of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), stated that the agreement in repopulating Sunderbans' tigers depends on the extent to which the two nations will effectively cooperate. He further added that India and Bangladesh should also improve their management efforts on their own side.

File:Maneater victim.png
An illustration of a tiger dragging off a human victim. This clearly highlights the dangers of man-eating tigers in the Sunderbans. Rise in water levels forces the big cats in search of new land; often leading to human settlements where conflicts arise.

I'm very pleased and happy to see what Prime Ministers Singh and Hasina have done, in order to help the tiger population of the Sunderbans. However, I also happen to agree with observations made by Mr. Gopal. In addition to preventing any poaching activities, both nations should also bring their attention to other threats affecting the Sunderbans. These include the rise in sea levels because of global warming, and the progressive erosion that has affected over a hundred islands that make up the Sunderbans. I believe that education about the ecological importance of the Sunderbans should be imposed on the local communities. This should not only include the horrors of poaching and wildlife smuggling, but also the dangers of global warming. People living there rely on the forests for food and shelter, which is why men would venture deep into the forests to gather firewood. But in doing so, they are contributing to greenhouse gas emissions which lead to rise in water levels thus putting both their families and the wildlife in peril. And due to rise in sea levels, animals like tigers are forced to venture into human territories resulting in disastrous outcomes on either side. The Sunderbans (meaning "beautiful forest" in Hindi) has long gained notoriety for its man-eating tigers. While most of the theories in this type of behavior range from old age to inheriting instincts passed down from one generation to the next, global warming is now the new factor. This is why it is crucial to help both the tigers and people of the Sunderbans such that neither one would meet another in any would-be conflict.

View article here

No comments:

Post a Comment