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A 2019 report from United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that the rising sea levels and climate change will eventually wipe out the Sundarbans, which is one of the world’s largest natural habitats and home to the endangered Bengal tiger.
The Sundarbans is the largest mangrove forest in the world. The 4,000 square miles of marshy land shared by Bengal in India and south coastal Bangladesh, supports a rich ecosystem with hundreds of animal species.
Experts have now estimated that 50 years from now, by 2070, the Sundarbans will cease to exist. 70% of the land occupying the Sundarbans is only a few feet above sea-level. Soon, several changes due to climate upheaval will make the remaining Bengal tigers extinct.
Recently, some school children from Bangladesh were brought by The Wildlife Trust of India, working as a part of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) funded Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Programme (ITHCP) in the area, to meet their Indian counterparts over a period of three days, to share their experiences of living with the Bengal tigers.
School kids from Bangladesh spoke about how they speak to local communities about changing methods of vegetation. They also have discussions bringing science and technology to areas that are still deprived of technological advancement.
“They interact with other villagers, who might be middle-aged or older and they said that initially they might have been irritated to have these kids come to their basha (home) and tell them about the importance of the tiger and the Sundarbans. But after a point, everyone relents… who will fight with kids?” Mayukh Chatterjee of the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) told News18.
In certain instances, villagers began to take actions. They started to save water and report incidences of illegal hunting and poaching to Bangladesh authorities.
Saving the Sundarbans should be prioritised because apart from housing endangered species, it also provides a livelihood to people on both sides of the border.
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