WWF: Sunderbans Tigers Face Extinction

WWF: Sunderbans Tigers Face Extinction

2010-1-26 10:4229
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According to the World Wildlife Fund, or WWF, the Sunderbans Royal Bengal tiger may only be found in zoos by the end of this century.

[Colby Loucks, World Wildlife Fund]:
“If we don’t do anything to limit the impact of climate change and in this case sea-level rise or protect the tigers from more immediate threats such as poaching and habitat loss, the Sunderbans and its tigers will go under water in the next 50 to 90 years is what our study found.”

Through habitat loss and poaching, the tigers are already one of the world’s most threatened species. The WWF estimates that the entire global tiger population totals only 3,200 in the wild. It says nowhere are they more vulnerable than in the Sunderbans.

The Sunderbans in Bangladesh is the world’s largest mangrove forests and provides a habitat for about ten percent of the global Royal Bengal tiger population.

A recent WWF study says that rising waters will submerge the area by the end of the century.

The report says an 11 inch rise in sea level – a rate they describe as conservative – is likely by 2070. By then, Sunderban tiger populations are “unlikely to remain viable.”

While not all scientists agree that there is a direct linkage between climate change and rising sea levels, Colby Loucks says the research is conclusive.

[Colby Loucks, World Wildlife Fund]:
“We’re going to have an increase of sea-level regardless and this is going to happen so, skeptics can be skeptical but this is happening and will occur in the next 50 to 90 years.”

Loucks said the need for action is urgent. Otherwise, the Sunderbans – which means “beautiful forest” in Bengali – and its tigers will be lost forever.



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