Royal Bengal Tigers may not survive Climate Change: UN Report

UN report, Climate change, and rising sea levels may eventually wipe out ‘The Sundarbans’, which is one of the world’s last and largest tiger strongholds. The studies of the report rely on climate change scenarios developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for its simulation models.

Once the Sundarbans are flooded it may lead to increased confrontations (conflict) between humans and tigers, as the latter would stray outside their habitat in search of new land. Conservation efforts and fight against habitat loss in Sunderbans needs to begin immediately, as it could take about 20 years for these efforts to even start showing any results, but if action isn’t taken soon there won’t be any forest or tigers to save in 50 years.

As per UN findings if greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continued at the current rate, the atmosphere would warm as much as 1.5C (above preindustrial levels) by 2040. This climate change would lead to rising sea level and existential threat to the Sundarbans.

In 2010, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF, a Non-governmental organization) estimated that sea level rise of 11 inches could reduce the number of tigers in Sundarbans by 96% within a few decades. By 2070, there will not be any suitable habitats of tiger remaining in Bangladesh Sundarbans.

Initiatives by India: As Bengal, tiger species is the most numerous of all tiger subspecies (about 2,500 left in wild) Indian government undertakes various initiatives to in a bid to conserve species. The Project Tiger launched in 1973 was India’s first-ever tiger conservation programme.

Since the early 1900s, hunting, poaching, habitat loss, and illegal trade of animal parts (to meet growing demand in Asia) have decreased the global population of tigers from around 100,000 to fewer than 4,000 and puy the species at risk.

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