A total of 35 tigers died in the Sundarbans since 2001 due to poaching, scarcity of food, indiscriminate killing and habitat destruction.
Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest, is the last stronghold for tigers in Bangladesh.
“Of them, 10 were killed by poachers, 14 killed by village people, 10 died naturally and one died during the Cyclone Sidr in 2007,” said Md Amir Hossain Chowdhury, the conservator of forest in Khulna Circle.
The number of the tiger in the Bangladesh part of Sundarbans stood at 200 in the tiger census in 2006, but the number reduced to 106 in the census conducted in 2015.
Dr M Monirul H Khan, a wildlife expert and also a professor at the zoology department of Jahangirnagar University, told the daily sun “It is difficult to indicate the exact number of tigers killed by poachers but we estimate that on an average 3 tigers were killed by poachers every year.”
A few poachers have been detained by the law enforcers but most of them remain out of touch, he said.
Around 265 people were killed in tiger attacks in different areas close to the Sundarbans, according to government statistics.
More tigers were coming to localities and getting killed by the villagers due to change in their habitat and impacts of climate change, said experts and forest officials.
Rampant poaching to meet the demand for a rapidly growing illegal wildlife trade in Asia has also put the Bengal tigers at risk, experts said.
The scarcity of food and poaching are the biggest threats facing the Sundarbans tigers. Poaching of deer, the main prey for tiger, is also threatening the survival of tigers, said Dr M Monirul H Khan.
Despite a ban on the hunting of tigers since the last few decades, the demand for tigers as status symbols, decorative items, and folk cures has gone up dramatically.
The government has taken several anti-poaching steps to save tigers and other wild animals, but these initiatives are failing to bring any significant change in the situation, said wildlife experts.
Dr M Monirul H Khan said the government has taken initiatives to safeguard the last population of tigers by expanding the tiger sanctuary in the Sundarbans.
“The number of tigers should increase if this plan is executed effectively,” he said.
Md Amir Hossain Chowdhury, the conservator of forest in Khulna Circle, said the government has taken different initiatives since 2011 to conserve tiger. He said the Forest Department has been collaborating with the law enforcers to prevent wildlife crime and poaching of tigers.
“We have formed 49 village tiger response teams (VTRT) to prevent poaching and human-tiger conflicts. No tiger was killed from 2013 to 2017 after straying into the villages,” he said.
Except for Bangladesh and India, tigers are available in 13 countries, including Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Bhutan, Nepal and Russia.