The authorities are gearing up to begin the next tiger survey in the Sundarbans from the last week of November, Sundarbans West Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) and Project Director Abu Naser Mohsin has said. 

The Planning Commission approved an allocation of Tk3 crore for the census last week. The Ministry of Forest, Environment and Climate Change and the Ministry of Finance are expected to disburse the amount over the next month, the DFO added.

The project authorities are currently in the process of speaking to experts and acquiring suitable cameras for the survey. About 200 new cameras will be procured in order to conduct the survey. Altogether 300 cameras will be needed for the survey.

According to the Forest Department, the Sundarbans Tiger Conservation Project was approved in April this year. The cost of this three-year project has been fixed at Tk35.93 crore, including Tk3.26 crore for counting tigers.

Other work under the project includes the construction of 60km of nylon fencing around tiger inhabited areas to prevent them from entering localities, 12 mud forts to provide shelters for tigers during cyclones and high tides, and two observation towers in fire-prone areas of the Sundarbans.

The project also includes the purchase of equipment, pipes and drones for emergency firefighting, the training of 340 members of Tiger Response Teams in 49 villages, and 185 members of Community Patrol Groups to tackle tiger-man conflicts in the Sundarbans, as well as the supply of clothing and the holding of monthly meetings for forest workers.

The last tiger survey in the Sundarbans in 2018 found 114 tigers.

The Sundarbans Tiger Conservation Project was approved in the light of the Bangladesh Tiger Action Plan (2009-2017), as well as commitments made at the 2010 World Tiger Conference, Second Tiger Action Plan (2016-2027) and Global Tiger Forum to collect updated information on tigers in the country and to preserve and increase the number of tigers in the Sundarbans.

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