Fish worth Tk one crore, kept under the open sky for drying, at Dublar Char in the Sundarbans were damaged due to the incessant rain triggered by the cyclonic storm ‘Midhili’. Kamal Uddin Ahmed, chairman of Dubla Fishermen’s Group, said 60,000 quintals (1 quintal = 100 kg) of fish have been damaged. Harun-or-Rashid, officer of Bagerhat-Mongla Weather Observatory Centre, said the Met office recorded 91 mm of rainfall in 24 hours, from 6 pm Thursday till 6 pm Friday, in Bagerhat. Tiger footprints cause panic in Bagerhat locality A total of 10,000 fishermen from the coastal areas gathered at Dublar Char, popularly known as “Shutki Polli” or Dried Fish Village, as the dried fish processing season kicked off on November 3. Every year, several thousand fishermen and hired hands flock to the area to catch fish and make shutki (dried fish) in Shelar Char, Narikelbaria, Majherkella and Alorkol of Sharankhola range of the East zone of Sundarbans. The dried fish processing will continue till March, next year. Dublar Char experienced intermittent rainfall for the past couple of days due to the depression in the Bay of Bengal. Motorbike-private car collision leaves 2 dead in Bagerhat Frustration gripped the fishermen at Dublar Char as fish worth Tk one crore were damaged due to the rain. Khalilur Rahman, in-charge of Dublar Char forest camp, said the authorities concerned informed the fishermen about the inclement weather through loudspeaker. The stench of rotten fish is prevailing in the area, affecting the environment and health of the fishermen and others living on the char, he said. “It is difficult for the fishermen to stay in the strong stench. It would be better to dump the fish damaged due to the rain,” said Kamal Uddin, chairman of Dubla Fishermen’s Group. 446 shelters prepared in Bagerhat Muhammad Nurul Karim, Divisional Forest Officer of Sundarbans East Zone, said the extent of the losses caused by the rain could not be ascertained yet. The periphery of the cyclonic storm Midhili crossed the Mongla-Payra coast near Khepupara as of Friday noon, according to the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD). Cyclone Midhili completed crossing the coast by the evening, it said.
Sundarbans, world’s largest mangrove forest, is abuzz with footsteps of a large number of tourists – both local and foreign – due its scenic beauty and diverse wildlife. After three months of closure, Sundarbans opened to tourists on September 1. The mangrove forest was off-limits to tourists from June 1 to August 31 by the Forest Department to ensure the breeding of 375 species of wild animals and 291 species of fish, including the Bengal tiger and deer. According to the Forest Department, at present, 114 Royal Bengal tigers, 375 species of wildlife including 200,000 deer, 334 species of plants including Sundari, 165 species of algae, 13 species of orchids, and 300 species of birds call the Sundarbans home. Fence to be erected in parts of Sundarbans to tackle human-tiger conflicts Kazi Muhammad Nurul Karim, forest officer of Sundarbans East zone, said a total of 4,908 local and 72 foreign tourists have visited the Sundarbans since it reopened till September 26. Last year, the number of local tourists was 2,332 and foreign tourists were seven in the 26 days of September. Md Saiful Islam, director of Sundari Eco Resort, said an eco village has been set up in Dhangmari, and they are working on developing community-based tourism. Sundarbans reopens to tourists, foresters after three-month closure “We have provided employment to hundreds of locals, and the local stakeholders are also being benefited through this,” he said. “This month, we have provided services to 34 tourists from China, Germany, Japan, Poland and India and the visitors felt delighted to visit the village, wearing local attire,” he added. Abu Foysal Mohammad Sayem Babu, director of Holidays Tours and Travels, said, “The Sundarbans has become the biggest attraction for foreign travellers, and keeping that in mind we are providing services to tourists through modern and luxurious cruise ships.” Deer poaching in Sundarbans rising at alarming rate amid lax monitoring He also claimed that the number of tourists in the Sundarbans will see further increase if the government lowers the travel fee for foreign travellers. A Japanese tourist, currently in the Sundarbans, said, “After hearing the story of the Sundarbans, I came here, at the Sundari Eco Resort. I did not expect to see such a charming village.” Azad Kabir, in-charge of Karamjal Tourist and Wild Animal Breeding Center, said that hundreds of tourists have visited the main attractions in the Sundarbans, and were overwhelmed by the scenic beauty.
The Forest Department of Bangladesh will install nylon fence at critical locations in the Sundarbans and provide awareness training, aiming to resolve tiger-human conflicts, and increase the tiger population in the world’s largest mangrove forest. These initiatives are part of a special project of the Forest Department named 'Sundarbans Tiger Conservation Project'.The implementation of the project, with a budget of Tk 35.90 crores, began in April 2022 scheduled for completion in March 202, according to the project director’s office. Read: Govt measures boost hilsa production in Khulna Under this project, various activities were planned including a survey of the tigers and prey animals in the Sundarbans, the construction of high dunes and watchtowers, research on canine distemper virus in tigers, and awareness training for VTRT and CPG members, it said. To prevent tigers from entering nearby localities from the Sundarbans, nylon fence will be erected in 4 to 5 km critical locations initially. If this proves successful, 60 km area will be brought under fencing. The Forest Department expressed hopes that the successful implementation of this project will resolve tiger-human conflicts, reduce human-induced tiger killings, and increase the tiger population. Read: Khulna fuel traders start indefinite strike with 3-point demand The primary focus of the project is the survey of tigers and prey animals. So far, camera trapping surveys have been completed for tigers, prey animals, and canals in the Khulna and Satkhira ranges under Sundarbans West Forest Division. The survey in the Sharankhola and Chandpai ranges under East Forest Division is set to commence in November, with the report expected to be published in July 2024. Abu Nasser Mohsin Hossain, Divisional Forest Officer of Sundarbans West Forest Division and Project Director of the Sundarban Tiger Conservation Project, said camera trapping work for the tiger survey in Satkhira and Khulna ranges has been successfully completed. All officers and employees of the Sundarbans East and West Forest Divisions will undergo training to enhance their tiger conservation skills. Read: Rail link with Khulna restored after 7 hours “Training sessions for CPG and VTRT members will start soon. Additionally, several activities are planned for tiger conservation and increasing their numbers,” he said. “All project activities will be documented on video, and these recordings will be used to create documentary films. These films will later prove valuable to officials and volunteers dedicated to Sundarbans and tiger conservation,” he added. According to the project plan, 12 high dunes will be constructed inside the Sundarbans to offer shelter to tigers during floods, storms, and high tides. A tower will also be installed in the Dhansagar area of the Sarankhola range tiger sanctuary to monitor fires. From this tower, forest guards and volunteers will be able to swiftly manage fires in the Sundarbans in that region. As part of the project, research will be conducted on the canine distemper virus. Tiger feces will be collected from the Sundarbans, and domestic researchers will study the virus infection in the tigers' teeth through these fecal samples. Read: Onion prices soar in Khulna market after India slaps duty on export On the other hand, 340 members of the Village Tiger Response Team (VTRT) and 184 members of the Community Patrol Group (CPG) will receive training to resolve human-tiger conflicts in the Sundarbans. Additionally, two tigers that often enter the locality will be fitted with satellite trackers. Forest officers will provide apps to CPG and VTRT members for tracking tigers' movements, allowing them to monitor tiger activity on their mobile phones. Consequently, if a tiger approaches the locality, they will be able to quickly guide it back to the Sundarbans. Furthermore, for the project's implementation, various equipment such as drone cameras, satellite trackers, nylon fences, GPS devices, tranquilizing agents for tiger sedation, cameras, VTRT equipment, and various auxiliary materials, including clothing and training materials for CPG members, will be procured. Read more: Save Sundarbans, save Bangladesh: Environmentalists call for protecting largest mangrove forest
Heritage sites are cultural and natural treasures that provide a glimpse into the rich history and traditions of a country or region. These sites hold significant historical, architectural, or cultural value and are preserved for future generations. Bangladesh, a country brimming with captivating stories and ancient wonders, boasts a plethora of such heritage sites. Keep reading as we go over 15 must-visit heritage sites in Bangladesh. 15 Most Well-known Heritage Sites in Bangladesh Sundarbans The Sundarbans, located in Khulna, in the southwestern part of Bangladesh, is the world's largest mangrove forest and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. It covers approximately 10,000 square kilometres and is known for its rich biodiversity. Read more: 5 Sundarbans eco resorts to experience world’s largest mangrove forest
A three-month ban on fishing and tourism in the Sundarbans will start from June 1 to ensure safe breeding and movement of fish and wild animals. Movement of all types of vessels including boats, fishing trawlers in the rivers and canals as well as the entry of fishermen and honey collectors will remain suspended from June 1 to August 31. No local for foreign tourists will be allowed to enter the forest during the period. According to the Forest Department, 251 species of fish release eggs during this monsoon and so fishing will not allowed in the forest. Read more: Environment Minister for measures to stop deer hunting in Sundarbans Besides, the ban will be applicable for safe breeding of 315 species of birds, 35 species of reptiles and 42 types of mammals. The authorities think the breeding by the fish and different species of animals will be obstructed due to sound of operating water vehicles in the water bodies. No tourists will be allowed to visit the country’s lone wildlife breeding center ‘Karamjal Wildlife Breeding Center’ and 11 other tourist spots. Hawlader Azad Kabir, in-charge of the breeding center, said ignoring the matter of revenue earning the government took the ban initiative to increase beautification of the forest and ensure safe breeding of fish and animals. Read more: Tourists can’t carry single-use plastics in Sundarbans: Environment Minister He said tough action will be taken if the restriction is ignored.
The season to collect honey from the Sundarbans began on Saturday. The honey season was formally inaugurated at noon by collecting honey in Satkhira range area of the west Sundarbans. Honey collectors were given permit (pass) after training on the premises of the Government Primary School adjacent to the Burigoalini Forest Office of the West Forest Division. With the pass, the honey collectors will go to the deep forest to collect honey. The patrolling of the Forest Department has been strengthened to collect honey in the Sundarbans without any hindrance and the collectors were advised to move carefully to protect themselves from the attack of wild animals, said Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Sundarbans West Division Abu Naser Mohsin Hossain. A target has been set to collect 3,000 quintals of honey and 800 quintals of wax in the Sundarbans this year, he said. Most of the honey is found in the Satkhira range of the Sundarbans. According to the Forest Department, 1,012 permits were issued for the collection of honey and wax in 2021. Against the permits, 6,797 honey collectors went to the Sundarbans and collected 3,376.90 tonnes of honey and 113.09 tonnes of wax. Tk 25,64,363 revenue was earned from honey and Tk 10,25,850 from wax. In 2022, the revenue from honey was Tk 36,93,600 and from wax it was Tk 15,31,200. That year, 2,320 quintals of honey and 696 quintals of wax were found in the Sundarbans.
Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world, acts as a natural wall to protect lives, livelihoods, and homes of people living along the coasts of Bangladesh and India from cyclones and storms. But the vital forestland is shrinking due to human actions. Over the last 100 years, Sundarbans has shrank significantly – endangering its biodiversity. Environmentalists and experts shared the information at a discussion in Khulna Press Club recently, marking the Sundarbans Day, and called for proactive public participation to protect the mangrove forest. Read more: Tiger census: Installation of cameras begins in Sundarbans Sundarbans Day is observed in Khulna, Bagerhat, Pirojpur, Barguna and Satkhira districts every year since 2002 with an appeal to save the largest mangrove forest in the world. A World Bank report, titled ‘Coping with climate change in the Sundarbans: Lessons from multidisciplinary studies’ (published in 2020), disclosed concerning information on shrinking of the forest area. According to the report, the total area of the Sundarbans (India’s West Bengal and Bangladesh) was 11,904 sqkm between 1904 and 1924. In 1967, it shrank to 11,663 sqkm, and in 2016, to 11,506 sqkm. According to various sources, there are 450 small and major rivers and canals in the Sundarbans. The total length of these canals and rivers is about 350 km. Due to tides, the banks of the rivers are eroded and formed again. Data says that in 100 years, more erosion happened, which cannot be prevented yet. Talking to UNB, Md Nur Alam Sheikh, convener of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolan (BAPA) Mongla zone, said, “People are continuously occupying the forestland and building homes, markets. The government must adopt a zero-tolerance policy to protect the forest, and law enforcers and forest officials must be strict in stopping encroachment.” Read more: 5 Sundarbans eco resorts to experience world’s largest mangrove forest The Sundarbans – home to numerous plants and wildlife, including the Royal Bengal Tiger – covers an area of 6,017 sqkm in Bangladesh. It was declared a “reserve forest” in 1978. Calling the Sundarbans “saviour of the country during natural disasters,” Chairman of ‘Save the Sundarbans’, Dr Sheikh Faridul Islam, said that the mangrove forest has been protecting the coastal belt for ages acting as a natural shield. “We must ensure Bangladesh is protected through securing the forest,” he said. Prof Dr Abdullah Harun Chowdhury, of Environment Science department of Khulna University, said, “There is no room for doubt… Bangladesh will not survive if the Sundarbans does not survive. All concerned should come forward.” People’s careless behaviour and indifference are the biggest threats to the Sundarbans, said Officer-in-Charge of East Sundarbans Karamjal Tourism Center and Wildlife Breeding Centre, Howladar Azad Kabir, adding that if this continues, there will be no Sundarbans. “Just celebrating Forest Day on February 14 is not enough. Everyone must be aware and come forward to save Sundarbans,” he said.
The forest department officials on Thursday evening detained a man with 20kg venison from the Nilkamal area of the Sundarbans in Khulna. The detainee was identified as Hiru Akon of Barguna. Read more: Two sent to jail for possessing deer meat in Bhola Zahirul Islam, in-charge of Nilkamal Wildlife Sanctuary in the Sundarbans, said a patrol team of the forest department detained Akon, "a member of a deer poaching gang," while he along with others was trying to flee the scene after sensing the forest officers' presence. The team also seized a fishing boat, a gun, 19 rounds of bullets, equipment used to trap deer, and sharp weapons. Read more: Venison, deer skin seized in Bagerhat "Akon was sent behind bars Thursday. And legal action will be taken against others," Zahirul said.
The residents of six villages near the Sundarbans are literally living in fear for their lives as a hundred footprints of two tigers were spotted in Sonatala village of Bagerhat’s Sharonkhola. Two tigers left the Sundarbans and crossed the Bhola river and entered the village early hours of Thursday (January 12) and roamed over an area of about one kilometer of Sonatala village, said Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Sundarbans East Division Muhammad Belayet Hossain. Later, the forest department, Village Tiger Response Team (VTRT), Community Patrolling Group (CPG) and villagers searched various areas throughout the day in search of the tigers. However, no tiger was found in that village till Thursday evening, he added. Read more: Tiger census: Installation of cameras begins in Sundarbans The two tigers went back to the forest after roaming different places in that village, claimed the Forest Department after tracing all the footprints the tigers left on the ground. However, villagers were advised to stay on alert, and have just spent an anxious weekend remaining vigilant. With this, tigers have left the Sundarbans and entered the locality more than 50 times in the last 15 years. During this time, both man and tiger have lost their lives due to counter-attacks. Villagers demanded effective measures to prevent tigers from entering the locality. Harun Bhadda of Sonatala village said that he woke up early in the morning and saw hundreds of the unmistakable imprints of the tiger's paw around his house. Ever since seeing them, his entire family has been gripped by fear of tigers. Read More: Panic after tiger strays into Satkhira village In Sonatala village, the Bhola River has almost filled up with silt and has only two to two-and-a-half feet of water. In the Tajur Gate area under the Bhola camp of the Sharonkhola range of the Sundarbans East Division, countless tiger footprints were spotted on the river bed.
The Forest Department has detained 16 fishermen from the Sundarbans for catching Parshe (mullet) fries, during its breeding period from November-January, from the river and canals defying a ban. A team of Forest Department (West) led by Zahirul Islam, officer-in-charge of Nilkomol Patrol Outpost, detained the fishermen around 4:30am on Thursday during a drive at the Bangabandhur Char area, said Divisional Forest Officer of Sundarbans West Forest Division Abu Naser Mohsin Hossain. They also seized two fishing boats, he added. "A case has been filed under the Forest Act; the fishermen have been sent to Koyra Upazila Senior Judicial Magistrate Court." Read more: 11 kidnapped fishermen rescued in Sundarbans: Police Fishermen of Shyamnagar, Koyra, Paikgacha, and Dakop surrounding the Sundarbans are using illegal nets to catch fish fries. The fishermen illegally catch a large number of fish fries from the Sundarbans' Alor Kol, Dublar Char, Batlurchar, Chachanangla, Poshur, Agun Jala, Kalir Char, Gera Chalki, Bajbaja, Hanshoraj, Andarmanik, Dhangmari; Chichkhali and Majjat rivers. Due to the use of monofilament nets, Parshe fish fries and different species of fish are being killed. Around 20-25 groups of 8-10 fishermen on engine-driven fishing boats are using 200-300-metre long and 40-50-metre wide nets to catch a maund of fish fries of different species in each haul every day. Also, some forest officials tip the fishermen off when their senior officials prepare for conducting a drive in the Sundarbans. Next, the fishermen hide in the forest. And when the drive is over they resume their illegal fishing. Read more: 26 rescued Bangladeshi fishermen return from India Poshur River Waterkeeper Coordinator Md Nur Alam Sheikh said a group of money lenders pay low-income fishermen a lot of money in advance to send them to the Sundarbans to make extra profit with fish fries. Some forest officials and employees are also cooperating with them in exchange for a large amount of money, he added.