There are only 3200 tigers left in the wild. The Sundarbans of Bangladesh is home to one of the largest single populations of tigers in the world. However, the Bengal tigers of Bangladesh are constantly under threat due to both natural and manmade reasons. Habitat destruction and rampant poaching of their prey has put the tigers in a vulnerable position. Complicating the situation further, killing of stray tigers entering villages have been a regular & tragic occurrence. Sundarbans Tiger Project (STP) of Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh has been working to conserve the tigers in the Sundarbans since 2004. To protect the remaining Bengal tigers, an integrated approach involving both policy level and community initiatives is needed. In collaboration with Bangladesh Forest Department, WTB has developed the Bangladesh Tiger Action Plan, which provides a guideline for tiger conservation efforts up to 2017. In light of this plan, WTB is going to launch a communication campaign for the people living near the Sundarbans.
Over the next five years, the campaign will organize both interactive and educational activities for the communities around Sundarbans. Initially, the activities will focus on the 26 periphery Unions nearest to the forests and will eventually spread to the eight Upazillas in 5 Districts i.e. Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat, Pirojpur and Borguna. The main theme of the campaign is ‘Sundarban Mayer Moton’ (Motherlike Sundarbans), the campaign activities have been designed to promote the Sundarbans as a nurturing and integral component to the lives of the communities and to establish it as more than a mere source of livelihood to the people.
The launching ceremony of the campaign will take place on 17th February, in the premises of the University of Khulna. Daylong activities of the launching event will include a colourful rally to celebrate the Sundarbans, a painting competition and exhibition by children and a cultural programme featuring local and national talents in the evening. Additionally, a theme song complete with music video and a docu-drama prepared exclusively for the campaign will also be displayed in the event. Professor A A M S Arefin Siddique, Vice Chancellor, University of Dhaka has kindly consented to inaugurate the campaign. Mr Talukdar Abdul Khalek, the Mayor of Khulna City Corporation and Professor Md. Saifuddin Shah, Vice Chancellor, University of Khulna will also be attending the event as guests of honour. More than twenty thousand people of all ages from Khulna and adjacent areas are expected to become a part of this event. The launching ceremony will provide a common platform for everyone who loves the Sundarbans and tigers – symbols of the beauty and endurance of nature.
The Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh (WTB) is a non-profit organization working to protect the biodiversity of Bangladesh. It has a dedicated team of scientists, field biologists, project managers, communication specialists and veterinarians, who are involved in different conservation projects across the country.
STP is a tiger conservation project initiated by Bangladesh Forest department in 2004 and became a part of WTB in 2008. The project aim is to create a wider network to bring together more people to help in conserving the tiger.