Bangladesh population

How Nepal successfully doubled its tiger population

Bangladesh could use the Nepalese model to increase its own number of wild tigers. Archive photo: Star

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Bangladesh could use the Nepalese model to increase its own number of wild tigers. Archive photo: Star

Of the 13 tiger range countries in the world, Nepal is on track to become the first country to meet the goal of doubling its tiger population – called TX2 (Twice Tigers) – by 2022. In 2009, Nepal had around 121 wild tigers, but according to the 2018 census reports, it now has 235 of these magnificent wild cats, which indicates an increase of 94% in 10 years.

On the contrary, although the Bengal tigers are an inextricable part of our identity, Bangladesh has made little progress in reaching the TX2 target by 2022. As indicated by the 2018 tiger census, Bangladesh is now home to 114 Bengal tigers. Bengal, an insignificant jump from the 2015 Census where the number of tigers stood at 106.

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Nepal has made such progress over the years that it now has more Bengal tigers than the entire Bengal region, hence the name of these big cats. Currently, the Bengal region, made up of Bangladesh and the state of West Bengal in India, has 203 tigers in its forests, a number that is far from the number of booming tigers in Nepal.

The Nepalese model

Despite being one of the poorest countries in the world, Nepal has made extraordinary efforts to increase the tiger population in its forests since the 2010 Tiger Summit. It has taken multiple initiatives involving both political entities and local communities that have allowed a sharp increase in the number of tigers.

To begin with, Nepal first identified the factors responsible for the decline of the tiger population. He effectively reduced tiger poaching and apprehended ringleaders involved in the global tiger poaching network. In 2014, it was the only country in the world to harbor tigers without poaching. He even used unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to stop the poaching of tigers and other nearly extinct animals. It has established more than 400 citizen-centric anti-poaching units across the country to prevent poaching by monitoring important wildlife corridors.

In addition, Nepal has pioneered functional and robust habitat management. It widened the border of key tiger habitats, paving the way for tigers to roam freely with a tolerable tiger density. Nepal has also strengthened the capacity of its forestry authorities to help them play a vital role in achieving the TX2 target by allocating more budget, manpower and modern equipment. In order to reduce human-tiger conflict, the country has worked with local communities to voluntarily relocate villagers from protected forest areas and made commendable efforts to reduce reliance on forest products. The country has also enabled local people to take action to protect nearby forests and left 28 percent of its forests to the management of local communities, allowing for peaceful coexistence between tigers and humans.

In addition, realizing the importance of a stabilized prey base, Nepal has taken steps to ensure suitable habitat for major prey species. Nepal has built dozens of ponds in strategically important locations, established solar-powered freshwater streams, and established new reserved forests to maintain the link between the main habitats of tigers and prey.

A field of learning for Bangladesh

In the past 20 years, Bangladesh has lost 38 tigers to poaching, tiger-human conflict and other issues. The Nepalese model can be useful in solving these problems. Following the Nepalese model, Bangladesh should be able to create effective local anti-poaching units and launch campaigns to help the rural population avoid conflict between tigers and humans.

A 2010 study found that tigers on the Bangladeshi side of the Sundarbans weighed about half the weight of other wild Bengal tigers, indicating a lack of sufficient prey species in the Sundarbans. The Nepalese model can also help solve this problem. In addition, this model can also help Bangladesh to ensure effective habitat management for tigers and prey species.

Currently, Bangladesh has a tiger density of 2.17 which is much lower than its actual carrying capacity, which means that Bangladesh has the opportunity to increase its tiger population without creating new ones. habitats.

The Bangladesh Tiger Action Plan 2018-2027 (BTAP) aims to achieve a tiger density of 4.50 by 2027. Although, geographically, Bangladesh is different from Nepal and faces challenges. challenges of climate change, the country has a wide field of use. the Nepalese model in his quest to achieve the goal set by the BTAP.

An increase in the tiger population will not only mean saving the tigers from extinction, but it would also indicate having a healthy and balanced ecosystem with thriving biodiversity. Thus, our government and relevant stakeholders should prioritize increasing the tiger population in Bangladesh. While working towards this goal, we must look to the Nepalese model and apply the proven measures in our own way.

Golam Mostafa is a final year student at Chittagong University.


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