Bagerhat: The Global Tiger Day will be observed in Bangladesh on Thursday amid increased concern over tiger poaching, tiger-human conflict and climate change-induced threats to its habitats.
Though the day is observed on July 29 every year, it is going to be observed in Bangladesh on Thursday as Eid-ul-Fitr was celebrated in the country on July 29.
The theme of this year day is: ‘Tiger is the national pride of Bangladesh’.
Over the last hundred years, 97 percent of all wild tigers spread among 13 countries have been lost as the global tiger population has come down to 3,000 from 1 lakh during the period. Among the eight sub-spices of tigers, three have already faced extinction.
The Bangladesh part of the Sundarbans, the largest habitat of the big cat around the world, is the abode to 440 tigers, according to the 2004 Tiger Census conducted by the government.
However, the tigers are being killed by poachers and assault by people after their venture into the locality.
As forests shrink and prey gets scarce, tigers are forced to hunt domestic livestock, which many local communities depend on for their livelihood. In retaliation, tigers are killed or captured.
According to the Forest Department, in the last 13 years, 49 tigers were killed in the country. During the period, some 260 people -- villagers, fishermen, honey collectors -- were killed by tigers in encounters inside the forest.
Experts said Bangladesh will lead in conserving tigers in the future if the big cats of the world’s largest mangrove forest can be protected.
Prof Dr Md Anwarul Islam, general secretary of conservation organization WildTeam, said tigers are globally at risk for the poachers. The tigers in the Sundarbans are at high risk. “The tigers of the Sundarbans have to fight poachers on one side while they have to undergo salinity and tidal surge due to climate change on the other hand.”
Stating that 10 lakh people are directly and indirectly dependent on the Sundarbans, he said this dependency has to be reduced with a view to protecting the tigers.
Anwarul Islam also underscored the need for putting global pressure on the countries where there are demands for various organs of tiger.
Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of the Sundarbans eastern zone Zahir Uddin Ahmed said the government has enacted the Wildlife (Conservation and Security) Law to protect the wild animals.
As pert the law, a two-seven years’ imprisonment will be given with a fine of Tk 2-7 lakh for the killing and smuggling of a tiger for the first time. If the same person commits the crime for the second time, s/he will be jailed for maximum 12 years and fined Tk 15 lakh, he said.
Global Tiger Day today