1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Bad news for Sundarban tigers

July 27, 2015

Better counting methodology has revealed more realistic results for the remaining tiger population in Bangladesh’s Sundarbans. And the numbers are far from good: Only around 100 of the big cats still stalk the forests.

Bangladesch Tiger
Image: AP

The numbers of tigers that populate the world's largest mangrove forest in Bangladesh seem to be far fewer than previously thought. According to a recent survey, which was published Monday (27.07.2015), there are only 100 of the big cats left in the region.

A census in 2004 had estimated 440 tigers in the World Heritage-listed Sundarbans, one of the world's last remaining habitats for the ferocious feline. Just recently, environmentalists urged the governments of Bangladesh and India to #link:http://www.dw.com/en/rising-sea-levels-threaten-sundarbans-forests/a-18342772:tackle the impact of climate change# on the precious forests.

The apparent drop in numbers is due to better counting methodology, experts say. Hidden cameras used in the recent census provide a more accurate measure of the actual animal population than the search for #link:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pugmark:pug marks#.

Tapan Kumar Dey, of the government's wildlife conservation office, said analysis of camera footage from the year-long survey that ended in April found numbers ranging from 83 to 130, or an average of 106.

Tigers in general are endangered. An estimated 2,226 Bengal tigers still live in India, with smaller populations in Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Myanmar. The World Wildlife Fund estimates that the number of tigers worldwide has fallen from 100,000 in 1900 to around 3,200 today.

Y.V. Jhala, a professor at the Wildlife Institute of India, called the new figure a "reality."

"The 440 figure was a myth and an imagination. Bangladesh and parts of the Sundarbans with its prey size can support up to 200 tigers," he said, also urging authorities toward action to better protect the cats.

ke/hf (dpa, afp)

Skip next section Explore more