Threats to Tigers of Mangrove Forest or, the Sundarbans

The Sundarbans, the biggest mangrove forest of the world, is shared by Bangladesh and India, and it was once called the sweet home of the “Royal Bengal Tigers”. Now this happy abode of about 500 Bengal Tigers is being rapidly destroyed by various reasons such as ever-growing erosion, rising sea levels, storm surges, global warming, ecological imbalance, global climatic change and, above all, unwise and destructive human activities. The severe attack of Cyclone Sidr in 2007, the shrinking of 71% forest coastline by 200 meters a year, the ever-increasing human development, increased salinity, lack of proper care and management are endangering the existence of the Sundarbans resulting in the extinction of tigers living in this mangrove forest. According to Natalie Pettorelli, one of the report’s authors, “A continuing rate of retreat would see these parts of the mangrove disappear within 50 years.” The Sundarbans are known for vanishing islands but the scientists said the current retreat of the mangrove forests on the southern coastline is not normal. “The causes for increasing coastline retreat, other than direct anthropogenic ones, include increased frequency of storm surges and other extreme natural events, rises in sea-level and increased salinity, which increases the vulnerability of mangroves,” said Pettorelli. Sara Christie, a ZSL tiger expert, has observed the deplorable condition of our forest and the Tigers and thus commented: “The Sundarbans is a critical tiger habitat; one of only a handful of remaining forests big enough to hold several hundred tigers. To lose the Sundarbans would be to move a step closer to the extinction of these majestic animals.” But we should not sit idly in the face of such disaster. It is high time our government, NGOs and concerned world organizations worked for hand in hand to save the Sundarbans, the habitat of birds, animals, trees and, above all, to protect our glorious and prestigious “Royal Bengal Tigers”. So our today’s slogan should be: “Save the Sundarbans and save our endangered tigers.”