Preparations are underway to start counting the Royal Bengal Tigers of the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest, under the Tiger Conservation Project.

Tenders have been invited for the appointment of four experts for the survey only after the release of funds. Wednesday is the last day for submission of applications.

Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) and Project Director of Sundarban West Division Abu Naser Mohsin Hossain said the survey would start only after the appointment of the experts. “Tenders have been invited for recruitment of one expert and one junior expert in camera trapping, one expert in canal survey and one expert in data analysis,” he added. 

Under the project, the process of hiring experts began after the Ministry of Forest, Environment and Climate Change and the Ministry of Finance released Tk1 crore in two instalments. The remaining funds required for the tiger survey will be available after the commencement of the survey. Tk3.26 crore is allocated for the survey while the estimated cost of the project is Tk35.93 crore.

DFO Abu Naser said: “We’re now assessing the condition of the old cameras and looking for a suitable camera type for this survey work. We’ll install cameras at 300 spots.” 

According to the 2018 survey, the number of tigers in the Sundarbans is 114. 

The three-year-long Tiger Conservation Project was approved in April this year with the aim of preserving and increasing the number of tigers in the Sundarbans, in light of the Bangladesh Tiger Action Plan (2009-2017), the 2010 World Tiger Conference commitments, the Second Tiger Action Plan (2016-2027) and the Global Tiger Forum decisions.

Other works of the project include nylon fencing in 60km of inhabited areas to prevent tigers from entering the locality, construction of 12 mud forts in the forest to provide shelter to tigers during cyclones and high tides, and two observation towers in fire-prone areas of the Sundarbans. 

Construction and purchase of equipment, pipes and drones for immediate firefighting, training of 340 members of 49 Village Tiger Response Teams and 185 members of four Range Community Patrol Groups to tackle tiger-man conflicts in the Sundarbans, supply of clothing and arranging monthly meetings of forest workers.

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