Wildlife experts at a workshop in the city on Monday stressed conserving the tigers of the Sundarbans from extinction, aiming to protect the unique biodiversity and ecosystem of the world’s largest mangrove forest.
They said the tiger population is the protector of the Sundarbans and tigers will have to be conserved to protect the forest from environmental damage.
Department of Forests (DoF) under the Ministry of Environment and Forests in collaboration with the Global Tiger Initiative, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) organised the ‘Pilot national programme development workshop for tiger conservation in Bangladesh’ at Sonargaon Hotel in the city.
Environment and Forests secretary M Shafiqur Rahman Patwari, director of Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute Dr Steve Monfort, chief conservator of forest Yunus Ali and conservator of forest (wildlife and nature conservation circle) Dr Tapan Kumar Dey, among others, spoke at the inaugural session of the two-day national workshop.
Speaking as the chief guest, Shafiqur Rahman Patwari said tiger is globally identified as endangered species as the number of tigers is declining day by day across the world.
About the state of tiger in the Sundarbans, he said there are only 440 tigers in the mangrove forest.
“As the area of Sundarbans is declining gradually, it is quite impossible to increase the number of tigers in the forest. But the government is working sincerely to protect the present number of tigers in the Sundarbans.”
Patwari said the government enacted a number of environmental and wildlife protection laws and formed the `Tiger Response Team’ to protect tigers in the Sundarbans.
Dr Steve Monfort stressed strengthening institutional capacity and involving local community in forest management to protect the tigers.
“The pilot national programme will assist Bangladesh, one of the important tiger range countries, in developing and implementing a comprehensive capacity building programme enhancing the national institutional capacity being consistent with the Global Tiger Recovery Programme,” he said.
The workshop is a part of the project, titled ‘Pilot National Programme Development and Field testing of CLP in Bangladesh’. The project is being implemented by IUCN Bangladesh Country Office on behalf of Bangladesh Forest Department.