The government has undertaken an action plan for saving the Royal Bengal Tigers of the Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forests, a top forest official said on Friday.
"The Tk 276 crore Tiger Action Plan would be implemented as part of strengthening regional co-operation for wildlife conservation with the assistance of the World Bank (WB)," said Dr Tapan Kumar Dey, Conservator of Forests at Wildlife and Nature Conservation Circle under the Office of the Chief Conservator of Forests.
Addressing a discussion on the occasion of the Global Tiger Day-2011, he said the execution of the plan involving neighbouring countries like India, Nepal and Bhutan would begin officially within couple of months and it would continue till 2017.
Under the plan, he said, the government has undertaken initiatives including capacity-building of the forest department officials, conducting regular tiger monitoring, assessment of threats to the tigers, raising mass awareness locally and nationally, and facilitating research to new generation scientists targeting to bring social changes among the people.
The forest department sources said the big cat species are now disappearing fast from the world as the current population of tiger is only about 3700, down from around one lakh in 1900.
"There are only five sub-species of tigers surviving in the world which are Bengal tiger, Siberian tiger, Sumatran tiger, South-China tiger and Indo-China tiger," they said.
Balinese tigers, Javanese tigers and Caspian tigers have already vanished from the planet as the experts estimated that the remaining species of the big cat are likely to disappear immediately with the advent of next century.
Meanwhile, State Minister for Forest and Environment Dr Hasan Mahmud said as per the objective of the Global Tiger Day, the government would take imitative to increase the number of tigers at least double by 2022 from the present level.
The government, he said, has already taken various initiatives including framing of a tougher anti-poaching law keeping a provision of 12 years' rigorous imprisonment for killing wildlife including the Royal Bengal Tiger and deer.
"Life imprisonment would be awarded to the offenders who would violate the law repeatedly," he added.
The country's existing Wildlife Conservation Act of 1974 prescribes maximum two-year jail for a poacher or smuggler along with a penalty of only Taka 2,000.
Mahmud said the Royal Bengal Tigers would have been found across the country even five decades ago, but they are now confined alone to the Sundarbans.
Official sources said at least 60 tigers were killed in the last three decades as the animals came to the nearby locality in search of food.
According to review of the ministry, the big cats kill 25 to
40 people annually while two to three tigers fall victim of mass-beating.
According to a study conducted jointly by the United Nations, Bangladeshi government and Indian government in 2004, as many as 440 tigers have been found in the Bangladeshi part of the Sundarbans, the sources said.