<i>Dhaka joins global move to save tigers </i>
Bangladesh joins hand with 12 other Tiger Range Countries (TRC) to save global tiger population.
Tiger is treated as one of the most critically endangered animals fast disappearing from the world. Only 3,200 big cats [Penthera Tigris] of five sub-species exist in the wild of 13 countries including Bangladesh.
Back in 1900, there were around 100,000 tigers around the globe, says International Tiger Report. Experts predict the tigers will be extinct in the next century if strong measures are not taken to save them.
The prime ministers of the TRC -- Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam -- are expected to meet at the Tiger Conservation Summit in Pittsburgh, Russia in September.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina may attend the conference, which is likely to make some new announcements.
The Balinese tiger, Javanese tiger and Caspian tiger have already been extinct from the world. Now there are five sub-species including Bengal Tiger, Siberian Tiger, Sumatran Tiger, South China Tiger and Indo-China Tiger.
Currently, half of this entire tiger population is surviving in 56 forest areas in India.
Despite frequent natural calamities, worsening environment and growing salinity in the Sundarbans, Bangladesh is the only country now that claims the number of tigers has recently risen in the forest.
The Bangladesh part of the Sundarbans, a stretch of 6,017 square kilometres of forest, is officially home to 450 tigers and is considered as the highest number of big cat habitation in a single forest.
The latest survey finds the number of big cats is ranging between 400 and 450.
The last pugmark survey by the forest department and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2004 estimated the number to be around 440 including 21 cubs.
Since 2000, tigers killed 193 people, while 29 tigers were beaten to death and some others were found dead in the forest, according to official records of the forest department.
As per the announcement of the Asian Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation held in Thailand in February, Bangladesh is working to double the number of global tiger population within 2022.
With the help of the Global Tiger Initiatives, Bangladesh has already developed a National Tiger Recovery Programme and Tiger Action Plan.
"Tiger, the top predator of any forest, is the indicator of status of biodiversity of the forest. If the number of tigers is good, we can consider the health of the forest is good," said Tapan Kumar Dey, conservator of forest, the wildlife division.
Bangladesh observed the International Tiger Day along with other TRC members yesterday through holding several programmes including discussions and rallies in Dhaka and Khulna.