Shrinking Sunderbans push Royal Bengal tigers to the edge
London: Fast-disappearing mangrove forests of the Sundarbans pose a question mark over the future of the Royal Bengal Tiger, an endangered species, say scientists.
Rapid deterioration in mangrove health is causing as much as 200 metres of the vegetation-rich coast to disappear annually in the Sunderbans, according to zoologists.
Nathalie Pettorelli, from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and senior study author, said: "Our results indicate a rapidly retreating coastline that cannot be accounted for by the regular dynamics of the Sundarbans. Degradation is happening fast, weakening this natural shield for India and Bangladesh."
`Sundarban` meaning `beautiful forest` in Bengali, is the largest block of continuous mangrove forest in the world, native to nearly 500 species of reptile, fish, bird and mammals, including the world famous Royal Bengal Tiger, the journal Remote Sensing reports.
Thriving human development, rising global temperatures, degradatin of natural protection from tidal waves and cyclones is inveitably leading to species loss in this richly biodiverse part of the world, according to a ZSL statement.
Sarah Christie, ZSL`s tiger conservation expert, says: "The Sundarbans is a critical tiger habitat; one of only a handful of remaining forests big enough to hold several hundred tigers. To lose the Sundarbans would be to move a step closer to the extinction of these majestic animals."
Although mangroves are rare, they are an important barrier against climate change, providing protection to coastal areas from tsunamis and cyclones. They are also the most carbon-rich forests in the tropics with high carbon sequestration potential, meaning their degradation and loss substantially reduce our ability to mitigate, and adapt to, predicted changes in climatic conditions.
Mangroves comprise less than one percent of all forest areas across the world, amounting to roughly half the size of the UK. It is essential that the protection of mangroves becomes a priority, particularly for the charismatic species which will disappear with them if no action is taken to preserve their habitat.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Will Akhilesh-Rahul alliance be able to trump BJP in UP elections?
- Arms case: Salman Khan acquitted by Jodhpur court
- Raisina Dialogue 2017: Pakistan must walk away from terror, says PM Modi
- DNA: Analysis of insensitivity shown by political leaders over rising poverty in India
- Etah: School bus collides with truck, several children killed
- World's 30 most dynamic cities: Check out the full list
- WATCH: Kieron Pollard's incredible one-handed six demoralises Fawad Ahmed
- China State TV said that its troops can reach New Delhi in 48 hours in war scenario; Indians slay it with their replies
- IND vs ENG, 2nd ODI: Yuvraj Singh silences critics with 14th ODI hundred, fourth against England — WATCH
- Bengaluru pips Silicon Valley to become world's most dynamic city