In Bangladesh, Cyclone Remal endangered the habitat of Bengal tigers

In Bangladesh, Cyclone Remal endangered the habitat of Bengal tigers
In Bangladesh, Cyclone Remal endangered the habitat of Bengal tigers


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May 28, 2024 – 10:58 p.m.

(Keystone-ATS) Forest experts in Bangladesh on Tuesday expressed concern over the state of the natural habitat of Bengal tigers. This was submerged at depth by sea water after the passage of a cyclone.

The powerful cyclone Remal, which devastated Bangladesh on Monday, was one of the longest the country has ever known, according to a Bangladeshi meteorologist who accuses climate change of being at the origin of this exceptional duration.

It is the immense mangrove forest of the Sundarbans, straddling Bangladesh and India, where the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers flow into the sea, which has been most affected.

Submerged forest

The forest, home to one of the largest populations of Bengal tigers, was submerged, said Mihir Kumar Doe, director of the southern Bangladesh forest department.

“The entire Sundarbans found itself underwater for more than 36 hours during the cyclone,” Mr. Doe told AFP. “All its freshwater ponds, numbering more than 100, were washed away by the salt water of the tide.”

According to official figures, at least 114 Bengal tigers live in the part of the Sundarbans located in Bangladesh. Abu Naser Mohsin Hossain, Bangladesh’s top forest official for the Sundarbans, is worried about the wildlife if freshwater lakes turn out to be contaminated.

“These ponds were the Source of fresh water for all the mangrove wildlife, including the endangered Bengal tigers,” he notes.

Dozens of dead deer and wild boars

Mr. Doe said his teams had found dozens of dead spotted deer, as well as wild boars, the tigers’ main prey.

“We are very worried about wild animals, including tigers,” he said, without being able to say “whether tigers or wild animals were washed away by the waters.”

Monirul Khan, a tiger specialist and professor of zoology at Jahangirnagar University, fears especially for the deer.

“Spotted deer are helpless against strong cyclone tides or prolonged forest flooding. But Bengal tigers can climb trees,” he says.



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