The number of tigers in the Sundarban regions has seen a meagre increase despite various initiatives by the forest division.
The newer steps include declaring more than half of the entire Sundarbans as reserve forest for free movement and breeding of tigers, increasing patrol outposts, introducing smart patrols equipped with modern technology to stop poachers and abolishing all permits during the mating season.
The number of tigers in the Bangladesh part of the Sundarbans, however, has increased from 108 to 114, only eight additions in the last four years.
According to a 2015 survey, the number of tigers in the Bangladesh part of the Sundarbans had dropped to an alarming 108.
Sundarbans forest department data says 50 tigers died between 2001 and 2017. Of these, only 10 died naturally. 14 tigers were beaten to death by locals, one was killed in the 2007 Super Cyclone Sidr and the other 25 were killed by poachers.
Assistant Forest Conservator (ACF) of the Sundarbans (Khulna range) Mohammad Abu Saleh said the government has taken various steps to increase the number of tigers. "The Sundarbans has been freed from bandits and the benefits are visible. The number of tigers has increased in the last three years."
SK Amir Hossain, a professor of biotechnology and genetic engineering discipline at Khulna University, said tigers do not come to the locality unless they are very hungry.
"And there are many tiger deaths as a result of coming to the locality. For this reason, their food must be ensured in the deep forest inside the Sundarbans," he added.
Dr Abu Naser Mohsin Hossain, divisional forest officer (DFO) of the Sundarbans West Division, said the number of Royal Bengal Tigers has increased in the latest survey due to the surrender of bandits and poachers.