In Bangladesh, a new census shows that tiger populations in the Sundarbans mangrove forest are more endangered than ever. The study, which used hidden cameras to track and record tigers, provides a more accurate update than previous surveys that used other methods. The year-long census, which ended this April, revealed only around 100 of the big cats remain in what was once home to the largest population of tigers on earth.
The Sundarbans mangrove forest is the world’s largest of its kind, spanning 3,900 square miles of which 60 percent lies inside the Bangladeshi border (the rest is in India). The mangrove forest has long been known as the home of the largest populations of the endangered cats on earth, but that may no longer be true as numbers dwindle. In 2004, the forest was believed to be home to 440 tigers, although researchers now suspect that figure was too high due to errors in methodology. The results of the most recent hidden camera census estimate as few as 100 of the majestic big cats remain in the wilds of the mangrove forest and, sadly, government wildlife experts say this new count is likely to be accurate.
Although tiger populations elsewhere have seen encouraging increases, Bangladesh does not have the same legal protections in place for the big cats. Wildlife conservationists are calling for the government to put an end to illegal poaching, which they attribute in part to the decline in population. Commercial development projects also pose a threat to the tigers’ habitat, and advocates believe those should be restricted. Without intervention, the number of tigers living in the mangrove forest will continue to drop.
Via The Guardian