Between India and Bangladesh, the region of the Sundarbans, 10,000 km² of land and water, hosts many threatened species including one of the world’s largest tiger populations. The feline could disappear from the area because of climate change and rising water levels.
Climate change (warming or cooling of climate in a determined area over time) threatens the survival of the species in the Sundarbans, especially because of rising water levels. Indeed, based on current sea levels it is predicted that – if the local situation remains the same – water levels will rise by 28cm in the next 50 to 90 next years. With this, 600 km² of the submerged lands on which the tiger depends could disappear within the next 30 years.
In addition, of the 102 islands that initially made up the Sundarbans, two have already disappeared and eleven may suffer the same fate under the effects of global warming. Amongst these threatened islands are Bulchani, Bhangaduani and Dalhousie, where tigers live. The predicted water level rise would further reduce mating and limit reproduction, as well as the survival chances of young felines, more vulnerable to brutal changes in environmental conditions.
To limit the effects of this climate change that will be dramatic for tigers and other species, greenhouse gas emissions must be significantly reduced. This requires international efforts to develop use of renewable energies, to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases, alongside the introduction of policies that favour the protection of natural areas and the reduction of intensive agriculture and breeding.
Finally, it is necessary for India and Bangladesh to continue their efforts to preserve these tigers as a metapopulation. Protection of such a population means that the felines, separated by natural barriers such as rivers, must still be able to meet and to reproduce, thus preserving genetic diversity and sustaining a high number of individuals. In order to do this, officials from both countries have already discussed implementing policies such as limiting the traffic of vessels in order to improve circulation of tigers and other species.
Supporting our organisation through making a donation will allow us, for example, to increase our involvement in actions for the survival of the species in India and in Bangladesh, but also in Vietnam and in Nepal.