Tiger’s paw marks at Dakkhin Razapur in Shorankhola upazila of Bagerhat Dhaka Tribune

Some locals claimed to have seen the tiger or its paw prints in the village

Villagers at Dakkhin Razapur in Shorankhola upazila of Bagerhat district are in fear over rumours of a wild tiger on the prowl.Some locals claimed to have seen the tiger or its paw prints in the village.

Tigers are rare in the locality, but they sometimes enter villages in search of food, they added.

The paw prints were found over a 3km area in the upazila and have been brought to the notice of the local Village Tiger Response Team. Forest officials have taken cautionary steps.

According to forest officials, the tiger entered the locality from the Sundarbans by crossing the Bhola River and was seen passing Bharani camp under The Forest Department on Saturday.

The tiger has not harmed any villagers or caused any damage, the officials added. Villagers have been asked to remain alert.

Locals said the tiger’s paw prints were found 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 pawprints of the tiger have been found. After scrutinizing the marks, we can say whether the tiger entered the locality on Saturday and left later at night on the same day.”

He also asked villagers to inform the Forest Department if they see the tiger in the locality again and to refrain from attacking it.

On October 8, 2020, villagers spotted the paw prints of two tigers at West Razapur village along the Sundarbans. The tigers returned to the forest without causing any harm to people or animals.

The Bangladesh Forest Department, jointly with the Wild Team and the Smithsonian Conservation Institute, USA, recently conducted a census and found that the number of Royal Bengal Tiger in Bangladesh part of the Sundarbans has increased to 114 from 106.

The second phase census began on December 1, 2016 under the USAID (Bengal Tiger Conservation Activity (BAGH) project through the camera trap method.

The survey was conducted in a 1656sqkm area of the Sundarbans in four phases till April 24, 2018.

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 had died — 22 in the East Division and 16 in the West Division of the Sundarbans.

Sources at the Forest Department said the tigers were killed by poachers, in lynchings, during storms and tidal surges or by old age.

On May 14, 2019, a study published in the journal Science of The Total Environment by scientists of Bangladesh and Australia warned that the famed Royal Bengal Tigers of the Sundarbans could be gone within 50 years, especially from the Bangladeshi part, because of the constant rise in sea levels and climate change.

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