Hossain Sohel


Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Plight of Royal Bengal Tiger in the Sundarbans

The Sundarbans is the largest mangrove forest in the world. It is rich in biodiversity that includes about 350 species of vascular plants, 250 of fishes and 300 species of birds. Apart from these, there are some rare species like Royal Bengal Tiger. All these wild creatures maintain the balance of food-chain in the forest. However, gradual declination of the number of the species has become a threat to biodiversity. Here is the first episode of our report on the plight of tiger based on Hosain Sohel’s findings...

The forest of the Sundarbans protected the entire coastal area of Southwestern Bangladesh from the catastrophic cyclone Sidr in the year 2007. On the other hand, life of the forest – Royal Bengal Tiger, being at the top of food-chain, has been safeguarding the World Heritage site, as it maintains the equilibrium of food-chain by keeping a balance between the ratio of tiger and deer.

However, supremacy of Royal Bengal Tiger is no longer observed in the Sundarban. The beast is now struggling for its survival due to the cruelty of poachers. Their number in the forest has shrinked to 440 from 40 thousand in 50 years. Local people, however, are not unaware of this.

Locals estimate that as many as 8 teams are active in hunting tigers in the Sundarban’s Sharonkhola, Rampal, Ashashuni, Shyamnagor and Kaliganj.

Usually, a tiger is sold at 0.2 to 0.5 million taka in local market, whereas, the skin of a tiger alone sells at 2 to 3 million taka in world market.

Competent sources said, a number of luxurious hotels of Dhaka and Chittagong house the market of tiger-hide. Besides, a band of hide traffickers is active in the capital’s Gulshan and Shahbagh.

Another group of smugglers are engaged in trafficking those to China by using neighboring India and Myanmar as transit routes.

According to a statistics, a total of 26 tigers were killed between 2001 and 2010.  However, if the spree to the gradual elimination of Royal Bengal Tiger continues, the rare species of the world will be extinct soon.

Hossain Sohel
Wildlife Reporter
ATN News Television
Dhaka, Bangladesh