From The Times of India:
The World Wildlife Fund has warned that days are numbered for much of the sensitive Sunderbans eco-system and in 60 years vast tracts of the rare mangrove forests, home to the Bengal tiger, will be inundated by the rising sea.
The study, focussed on Sunderbans in Bangladesh, says the sea was rising more swiftly than anticipated by
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007 and would rise 11.2 inches (above 2000 levels) by 2070. This would result in shrinkage of the Bangladesh Sunderbans by 96% within half a century, reducing the tiger population there to less than 20, said the study.
Unlike previous efforts, WWF’s deputy director of conservation science Colby Loucks and his colleagues used a high-resolution digital elevation model with eight estimates of sea level rise to predict the impact on tiger habitat and population size. The team was able to come up with the most accurate predictions till date by importing over 80,000 Global Positioning System (GPS) elevation points. More:
Click here to read the report: Sea Level Rise and Tigers: Predicted Impacts to Bangladesh’s Sunderbans Mangroves
Image of Sunderbans mangrove forest from Kolkatabirds
A new breed of volunteering holiday suits parents and kids as Jill Insley discovers in the Sunderbans. Reported in The Observer
The day before I took my daughter to the Sunderbans in north east India, the Times of India reported: ‘A 21-year-old resident of Patharpratima was killed and partly eaten by a tiger in the Sunderbans … Buno Bhakta was part of a five-member group that had gone into the Chulkati forest to look for crabs. The tiger attacked when they were returning with their catch later in the day.’
I discreetly tore the article out of the paper and hid it. Imogen, who is 11, was already alarmed enough about going to an area where the local wildlife regarded mankind as supper. I was more worried about getting Delhi belly and whether Imogen would be overwhelmed by the poverty she would probably see.
West Bengal’s villagers are increasingly the prey of tigers driven out of Bangladesh by flooding. Gethin Chamberlain in the Obserever:
In the remote village of Deulbari, everyone knows someone who has been attacked by a tiger. Until now, humans and tigers have coexisted uneasily in this outpost in the Sundarbans area of West Bengal, where 274 tigers were counted in the last census in 2004. This year has been different.
Approached through vivid green paddy fields dotted with pink water lilies, Deulbari is a village of roughly constructed houses, some with corrugated iron roofs, others just straw, bleached by the sun. It sits on the Indian shores of the mangrove forests that straddle the border between India and Bangladesh. After a cyclone last winter led to rising water levels and forced tigers from the Bangladeshi side over the border into India, the number of documented tiger attacks has soared. According to villagers, there have been 15 already this year, six of them fatal. The ranks of the tiger widows are swelling, and the horrifying tales are multiplying.
In the Sunderbans forests between India and Bangladesh, climate change is pitting people against tigers – with deadly consequences. John Vidal reports on how extreme weather and shrinking habitats are bringing humans and beasts into closer and more perilous contact. From The Guardian:
Tarak Babu could have seen or heard little in the seconds before he died. His village of Jelepara in the far south-west of Bangladesh is desperately poor and has no electricity, and the young fisherman was walking back with food for his family at about 8.15 in the evening.
It was June 20 – monsoon season. Tarak was walking along the high earth embankment that protects Jelepara from the river Chunkuri, and had just passed a small Hindu temple with its gaudy, painted wooden effigies of the tiger god Dakshin Ray. He would not have seen the real tiger that had just swum across the river from the great Sunderbans forest 400 yards away. It hauled itself out of the water and mauled him from behind. No one even heard Tarak cry out.
But that was just the start of the drama in Jelepara that night. According to Selina, a young woman who lives only a few hundred yards from the scene of the killing, the beast then dropped down off the embankment, and silently entered Gita Rani’s family compound in the village. It tried to take a chicken, but Gita came out when she heard the commotion in the hen house and was promptly killed.
The tiger then went into the house where it killed her father-in-law, Aghoire Mandal.
Click here for more and to watch the video, The hunt for a man-eating tiger
Rising sea levels threaten to flood the Ganges delta, leading to an environmental disaster and a refugee crisis for India and Bangladesh. In The Observer, UK, Douglas McDougall reports from the Sundarbans:
Dependra Das stretches out his arms to show his flaky skin, covered in raw saltwater sores. His fingers submerged in soft black clay for up to six hours a day, he spends his time frantically shoring up a crude sea dyke surrounding his remote island home in the Sundarbans, the world’s largest delta.
Alongside him, across the beach in long lines, the villagers of Ghoramara island, the women dressed in purple, orange and green saris, do the same, trying to hold back the tide.
For the islanders, each day begins and ends the same way. As dusk descends, the people file back to their thatched huts. By morning the dyke will be breached and work will begin again. Here in the vast, low-lying Sundarbans, the largest mangrove wilderness on the planet, Das, 70, is preparing to lose his third home to the sea in as many years; here global warming is a reality, not a prediction.
A pregnant tigress, which was rescued by forest workers after she strayed into a village and was beaten up by villagers, was released from a cage in the Sunderbans, India. As she jumped into the river, she looked back with a growl at her captors, and swam ashore into the thick mangrove forest Tuesday morning.
According to the Indian government’s tiger census report, only 1,411 tigers are now left in the wild — a big fall from 2002 when the tiger population was estimated to be 3,642.
More in Hindustan Times:
And in the Indian Express, India’s last tigers and where they live.