Forest Deptt lacks capacity to conserve Sunderbans?

Forest Deptt lacks capacity to conserve Sunderbans?

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Bangladesh Forest Department has little capacity to conserve the Sundarbans, the country’s only natural tiger habitat, admits a top forest official.
“The Forest Department lacks the capacity to conserve the Sundarbans…it requires more skilled manpower, arms and ammunition, and training,” chief conservator of forest Mohammad Yunus Ali told a function in the capital.
Bangladesh Forest Department organised the event at Bangladesh Krishibid Institute, marking the Global Tiger Day.Yunus Ali said three things — enforcement of laws, prosecution and conviction of wildlife crimes offenders — is a must to prevent wildlife crimes and conserve forests in the country.
About the recent tiger census, he said, they have got a reliable estimate of tigers living in the Sundarbans, but yet to identify the trend of tiger population in the forest.
According to the tiger census 2015 conducted using camera trapping, there are only 106 tigers currently living in the Bangladesh part of the Sundarbans against 440 identified by the 2004 census.
Wildlife biologist Prof Mostafa Feroz, also a biology professor of Jahangirnagar University, said the Sundarbans never ever the capacity to accommodate 400 or more tigers.
“Although the Sundarbans is a home to only 106 tigers now, there is still an opportunity to make a turnaround,” he added.
Prof Feroz said if the proper management of the forest could be ensured it is quite possible to change the horrible situation of tigers by enhancing its number. “But a strong political will is needed to do that.”
Environment and Forests Minister Anwar Hossain Manju, Deputy Minister for Environment and Forests Abdullah Al Islam Jacob, additional secretary of the ministry Rakibul Hasan and deputy chief conservator of forest Akbar Hossain and forest conservator Dr Tapan Kumar Dey also spoke at the function.- UNB

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