Climate change will wipe out the endangered Bengal tiger because of threats to their natural habitats, says a new report by the United Nations. Scientists have sounded the alarm that changing climate and rising sea levels may eventually wipe out one of the world’s last and largest tiger strongholds. The researchers say that changes wrought by a warming planet will be ‘enough to decimate’ the few hundred Bengal tigers remaining in the Sundarbans, 4,000 square miles of marshy land in Bangladesh and India that is also home to the endangered animal.
Dr Sharif Mukul, an assistant professor at Independent University Bangladesh said the Sundarbans region of Bangladesh and India is the biggest mangrove forest on Earth and also the most critical area for Bengal tiger survival. “He said their analyses give a terrifying forecast that by 2070, there will be no suitable tiger habitats remaining in Bangladesh Sundarbans.
The researchers used computer simulations to assess the future suitability of the low-lying Sundarban region for tigers and their prey species, using mainstream estimates of climatic trends from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Their analyses included factors such as extreme weather events and sea-level rise. “Beyond climate change, the Sundarbans are under growing pressure from industrial developments, new roads and greater poaching,” said Professor Bill Laurance, the co-author of the study. “Tigers are getting a double whammy – greater human encroachment on the one hand and a worsening climate and associated sea-level rises on the other.” Professor Laurance said the more of the Sundarbans that can be conserved, via new protected areas and reducing illegal poaching – the more resilient it will be to the future climatic extremes and rising sea-levels.
Since the early 1900s, the Bengal tiger species has been impacted by hunting, illegal trade of animal parts and habitat loss. Now, the animal with the help of scientists and animal rights groups is fighting for its survival.