Staff Correspondent: A total of 13 tigers have been killed by people in one and a half decades in Bangladesh.
During the period, around 265 people were killed in tiger attacks in different areas close to the Sundarbans mangrove region, according to government statistics.
The number of Royal Bengal Tigers that died since 2001 totals 35.
The tiger population in Bangladesh, according to a 2015 census, stands at 106.
The government initiated a project nine years ago to save tigers which proved to be ineffective as more and more tigers were falling prey to the humans.
One reason the forest officials cited for the killings is that due to the change in their habitat and climate, more tigers were coming to localities and getting killed by the villagers to save themselves.
On Tuesday, the villagers at Gulishakhali in Morelganj Upazila in Bagherhat killed a two and a half years old tiger cub after it had entered the locality and attacked people.
The forestry officials in the Sundarbans said their records showed 20 tigers died in the east zone and 15 in the west.
Sundarbans East Zone Forest Officer Mahmudul Hasan told at least five of the 20 tigers that have died in the zone since 2001 were beaten to death or shot dead after they had entered human habitats.
Four tigers died naturally while the others were killed in flash floods or by poachers, he said.
He also said 26 people died in tiger attacks in this zone since 2001.
West Zone Forest Officer Bashirul Al Mamun said eight of the 15 tigers that died in this period in the zone were beaten to death by people.
The number of deaths of people in tiger attacks is much higher in this zone – 234 – than the other.
Bashirul said most of the victims were people whose livelihood depended on the Sundarbans.
Sundarbans Wild Life Management and Conservation Department official Md Modinul Ahsan, however, claimed fewer tigers were being killed by people now than before.
He said only nine tigers were killed by people in past 10 years after the government formed 89 response teams to save tigers under the Bangladesh Tiger Action Plan in 2009.
He said they had six tranquilliser guns and were ready to save tigers from being killed once the big cats enter localities. “But we couldn’t save the cub on Tuesday as the angry villagers had killed it before we arrived,” he said.
He also said the Baleshwar and Pasur rivers were dying due to sediment deposition, leading the tigers to enter localities.
“The government is taking up a project for river dredging. Tigers will stop entering the localities once it is done,” he said.
According to Modinul, an adult tiger weighs up to 220 kilograms and a tigress 160kg.
A tiger’s lifespan in nature is between 10 and 14 years.
A tigress gives birth to two to three cubs every two years. The cubs live with their mother for two years during which time she avoids the company of the tiger as it is known to eat the cubs.