Fear has gripped the residents of a number of villages at Dakkhin Razapur in Shorankhola upazila of Bagerhat district as the footprints of a tiger was found in their locality.
Locals said the presence of tigers in the locality is rare but sometimes they enter the villages in search of food.
They spotted the footprints over a three-kilometre area of the upazila and brought it to the notice of the local Village Tiger Response Team.
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However, the forest officials have taken necessary cautionary steps after the detection of the footprints.
According to the forest officials, the tiger entered the locality after crossing the Bhola River from the Sundarbans and was seen passing Bharani camp under The Forest Department some time on Saturday.
However, the tiger did not harm the villagers and their belongings, said the forest officials.
The villagers have been asked to remain alert, they said.
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Locals said they have found the footprints of the tiger beside roads, fields and riverbanks in different parts of the area.
Mohamamd Joynal Abedin, assistant conservator forest (ACF) of Sharankhola range under Sundarbans East zone, said, “Several footprints of the tiger were seen. After scrutinising the marks, we can say whether the tiger entered the locality on Saturday and left it later at night on the same day.”
He also asked the villagers to inform the Forest Department if they see the tiger in the locality again and refrain from making any attack on it.
On October 8, 2020, villagers spotted the footprints of two tigers at West Razapur village along the Sundarbans and those returned to the forest without causing any harm to people and animals.
According to government sources, the number of Royal Bengal Tiger in Bangladesh part of the Sundarbans has increased to 114 from 106.
Bangladesh Forest Department jointly with Wildteam and the Smithsonian Conservation Institute, USA, conducted a census and found that the number of Royal Bengal Tiger in Bangladesh part of the Sundarbans has increased to 114 from 106.
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The second phase census began on December 1, 2016 under the USAID (Bengal Tiger Conservation Activity (BAGH) project through camera trapping methods.
The survey was conducted till the 24th April, 2018 in 1656-sqkm area of the Sundarbans in four phases.
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The total area was divided into three blocks — Satkhira, Khulna and Sharankhola ranges.
The cameras captured a total of 2,466 images during the 249-day census.
The first-phase survey of the USAID BAGH project recorded 106 tigers in 2015.
As per the information received from the Forest Department in between 2001 and July 2020, altogether 38 tigers died — 22 in the East Division and 16 in the West Division of the Sundarbans.
Sources at the Forest Department said some of the tigers were killed by poachers, some in lynching, some died during storm and tidal surge while some died of old age.
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On May 14, 2019, a study, published in the journal Science of The Total Environment, scientists of Bangladesh and Australia, warned that the Sundarbans’ famed ‘Royal Bengal Tigers’ could be gone within 50 years, especially from the Bangladeshi part, because of constant rise in sea levels and climate change.
DFO Belayet Hossain has said the government has taken various steps to protect tigers in the Sundarbans.