Page last updated at 12:11 GMT, Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Bangladesh forms first tiger plan

By Alastair Lawson
BBC News

Tiger in Bangladesh
Bangladesh has one of the world's largest surviving tiger populations (Picture: Zahangir Alom)

The Bangladesh government has created its first national plan to conserve the endangered Royal Bengal tiger.

The Tiger Action Plan aims to save an estimated 300-500 tigers in the Sundarbans mangrove forest.

The area in the south-east of the country has one of the largest remaining Bengal tiger populations.

Experts have described the plan as "a tiger-sized leap for conservation" which will preserve the Bengal tiger - the world's largest tiger sub-species.

On Tuesday a conference on tiger conservation in Nepal began with a warning that traders and poachers were better organised than conservationists.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick said that the illegal activities of traders and poachers was estimated to be worth over $10bn annually.


Officials and conservationists in Bangladesh say they hope that they have now made progress in protecting one of the world's largest tiger populations.

Spotted deer
Experts say the Sundarbans is an ecological treasure trove (Pic: Elisabeth Fahrni Mansur)

"We involved the top tiger conservation experts from Bangladesh and around the world in the review process and as a result we have a strong and well thought-out document capable of uniting tiger conservation efforts in the country," said Professor Anwarul Islam of the Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh.

The plan argues that saving the tiger will also help to save the Sundarbans, which represents almost half of Bangladesh's remaining forest.

Environment Secretary Mihir Kanti Majumder says that the plan provides essential ecological services for the whole region and the livelihoods of millions of local people.

"The conservation of the Sundarbans and the coastal green belt is critical for the security of the nation, particularly in light of predicted impacts of climate change. As the national animal of our country, the tiger represents an ideal focal point for our conservation efforts, particularly for the Sundarbans."

The plan was drawn up by the Bangladesh Forest Department and the Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh with help from the Zoological Society of London, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the University of Minnesota.

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