Sunday, September 21, 2014

International Experts Demand Security for Sunderbans' Tigers

Bengal tiger

It has recently been reported that international biological experts have urged authorities to guarantee security for tigers living in the Sundarbans, in order to protect them from extinction. A commission comprised of forty international tiger experts provided some suggestions to the Department of Forests during their two-day visit to the Sundarbans on Thursday following the 2nd Global Tiger Stocktaking Conference. These suggestions included increasing cooperation and sharing knowledge with other countries as the Sundarbans is the only habitat in both India and Bangladesh where tigers live. In addition, the commission also underlined regular monitoring of tigers so that they can be protected from poaching and the illegal trafficking of wildlife. The experts, led by Chief Conservator of Forests M. Yunus Ali, entered the southern part of Sundarbans through Mongla point and visited different points such as Jamtala, Karamjal, Katka, and Shailo River. While visiting, they swapped views with the Village Tiger Response Team (VTRT) and even shared their knowledge with forest officials.

It is very beneficial what this team of international tiger experts did while visiting the Sundarbans which is known to have one of the highest concentrations of tigers than anywhere else in the Indian subcontinent. In addition, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, this natural region comprised of mangrove forests and tidal waterways has a dark side. The tigers of Sundarbans have earned an infamous reputation as man-eaters. This type of behavior dates back even before modern times when tigers in the region were said to "regularly kill fifty or sixty people a year." Even today, incidents of tiger attacks in the Sundarbans continue to make headlines. This is particularly due to the devastating effect of Cyclone Sidr, which deprived the tigers of their natural prey. Although it is said that tigers in Sundarbans are not persecuted for conducting attacks on people, there have been some instances of retaliatory killings from villagers. One occasion involved a tiger that had attacked and wounded people in southwestern Bangladesh and regularly preyed on their livestock. This triggered a massive outcry among villagers and resulted in the tiger being killed. The coexistence between people and tigers in the Sundarbans has always been uneasy. This is why in order to ensure security for tigers, it is also essential to guarantee security for villagers living within the vicinity of the Sunderbans so that both people and tigers can live alongside one another peacefully.

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