Environment and Forest Minister Anwar Hossain Manju Minister Manju made the comment on last Saturday amid growing concerns from different groups over the plummeting tiger population in the Sundarbans, as reported by the Dhaka Tribune.
“We have taken up many initiatives to protect the Bengal Tiger. But it is not possible to keep them alive forever.”
The forest minister made the statement while attending the “Greater Dialogue for a Greater Cause” to save the Bengal Tiger population in the Sundarbans.
The event was organized by Bengal Tiger Conservation Activity project (Bagh) of United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in association with the Forest Department and Wild Team.
The forest minister faced backlash in 2015 for saying the dwindling tiger population was because tigers were “touring the Indian side.”
After the tiger population saw a brief surge in October, he said “Tigers have come back from India and are giving birth to cubs after their trip.”
Addressing Saturday’s function, the forest minister said field-level initiatives taken up by the government to protect Sundarbans’ tigers are ineffective since local influential political leaders are involved in poaching.
“Tiger conservation is a very difficult task for Bangladesh as around one crore people are dependent on the Sundarbans for their livelihood. Their lives revolve around the forest.
“However, we have deployed coast guard and RAB in Sunbarbans. In addition, alternative employment has been arranged for those dependent on,” he added.
Gary F Collins, chief of USAID’s Bagh Activity, said: “The business community is an important part of protecting the ecosystems of the Sundarbans by providing alternative livelihoods for the people there.
Nathan Sage, Deputy Director and Environment & Global Climate Change Leader, USAID said “I think the challenge is to inspire people in protecting tigers—there are many ways to get involved in this activity.”
The Bagh Project is being funded by USAID and implemented by the Smithsonian Institution and the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies in partnership with WildTeam.
The event was organized as part of creating awareness to conserve Bangladesh’s rich biodiversity through protection of the Bengal Tiger.