A recent survey conducted by Agency France-Presse (AFP) reveals that only 100 tigers are left to freely roam the Sundarban forests of Bangladesh, the largest mangrove forest in the world. This number is a startling drop from the 440 tigers recorded during the previous census in 2004.
The year-long survey, which ended in April, captured footage from hidden cameras to determine the true numbers, and ended up estimating that between 83 and 130 tigers presently exist. This census is thought to be more accurate compared to the last, which used paw prints and pug marks to determine the number of tigers abounding in the wild.
“So plus or minus we have around 106 tigers in our parts of the Sundarbans,” Tapan Kumar Dey, the Bangladesh government’s wildlife conservator, told AFP. “It’s a more accurate figure.”
In 2014, a similar census found that there are least 2,226 tigers in neighboring Indian forests – a stark contrast to Bangladesh’s numbers. In fact, the number of tigers in the South Asian country is up 500 from the census carried out four years ago.
Monirul Khan, a renowned zoology professor at Bangladesh’s Jahangirnagar University, as well as the nation’s foremost tiger expert, ran his own study and found that there are no more than 200 tigers living in the wild. Khan also says that the government needs to do more to protect the animals from poaching and their habitat from destruction through development.
Action is being taken, but is it at a fast-enough pace to save the species?
Earlier this February, 13 countries participated in a five-day summit aimed at finding a solution to end illegal tiger poaching in Asia. Said David Lawson of the World Wildlife Fund, who attended the summit, “Asian governments need to recognize that we are in the midst of a poaching crisis and that this theft of natural resources must be stopped.”
According to a The World Wildlife Fund report, tigers worldwide are at risk for extinction. Their numbers have fallen from 100,000 in 1900 to just 3,200.
Similar to African Elephants and Rhinos presently being poached for their tusks, there are a number of animals presently at risk of being eliminated. Clearly, more needs to be done to save these valuable species from extinction.
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