The daily sun yesterday carried the heartening front page news about the Royal Bengal Tiger population rising in the Sundarbans mangrove forest. This comes at a time when wildlife researchers everywhere are predicting the extinction of tigers within a few decades.
The fear for the extinction of the Sundarbans tiger population in the wake of climate change is not totally unjustified. With the impending rise of the sea level, poaching and human encroachment on Tiger territory, the threat of extinction is very real. The Sundarbans being located on the coastal belt of Bangladesh, a rise in temperature will lead to a rise in the sea level, which might lead to a reduction of the jungle habitat of the endangered tigers. Without positive intervention it can gradually reduce the number of tigers over the years.Without actual or concrete statistics, it is difficult to ascertain what factors led to the increase in tiger population in the Sundarbans. But whatever the reasons are, they must be replicated for the positive effect of further increase in the tiger population. We appreciate the role of the forest department in guarding the World Heritage jungle strictly. Due to their sincere efforts they have been largely successful in halting the poaching of the grand cats. If tiger poaching can be kept under control, and all other conditions remain favourable, the tiger population is very likely to increase further.
Poaching and encroachment on tiger habitat are the primary causes of the decline of the majestic animals. The front page story on tiger population has correctly mentioned that since the early 1900s, habitat loss, hunting and the illegal trade of animal parts have decimated the global population of tigers from around 100,000 to fewer than 4,000.
We hope that the authorities will continue to protect the tigers of the Sundarbans and their habitat from poachers and encroachment, which will in turn continue to help increase the population of the Royal Bengal Tigers. Then we can set a world example of conservation of wildlife for all to emulate. If we succeed, then the tigers of Sundarbans will thrive instead of going extinct in the near future.