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Media should assist scale back battle between tigers and folks within the Sundarbans (commentary)

The Sundarbans is the world’s largest mangrove forest, supporting millions of people and myriad wildlife, including endangered tigers, which are increasingly killed for the wildlife trade or in retaliation for attacks on humans. Media outlets rarely focus on the root causes of this conflict – habitat loss, poaching, and illegal trade – and yet they often sensationalize

Media should assist scale back battle between tigers and folks within the Sundarbans (commentary)

  • The Sundarbans is the world’s largest mangrove forest, supporting thousands and thousands of individuals and myriad wildlife, together with endangered tigers, that are more and more killed for the wildlife commerce or in retaliation for assaults on people.
  • Media shops hardly ever deal with the foundation causes of this battle – habitat loss, poaching, and unlawful commerce – and but they typically sensationalize tiger assaults, portray an image of bloodthirsty beasts preying on harmless people.
  • “We should study to dwell harmoniously with nature, not attempt to dominate it. This contains recognizing the ability of the media to form our perceptions and utilizing that energy responsibly to foster coexistence,” a Bangladeshi journalist argues in a brand new op-ed.
  • This publish is a commentary, the views expressed are these of the writer, not essentially Mongabay.

The Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest, is a pure marvel that helps thousands and thousands of individuals. It’s a protect in opposition to highly effective storms and offers sources for numerous households. However this important ecosystem is in disaster, and we’re caught in a lethal paradox: as we attempt to defend ourselves, we’re shedding tigers. This battle is fueled, partly, by the very media that needs to be elevating consciousness, and outdated insurance policies that fail to handle the foundation of the issue.

This isn’t a brand new battle. For hundreds of years, tigers have been hunted for sport or killed in retaliation for human deaths. However issues have gotten a lot worse in latest many years. From 1984 to 2000 alone, tigers killed a median of 24 folks every year, whereas people killed three tigers.

However is that this actually a ‘man-wild battle’? The proof suggests it’s extra difficult than that. Tigers aren’t those beginning the combat; their assaults are sometimes self-defense in opposition to folks encroaching on their territory, and on those that hunt them. Tragically, these magnificent creatures have lost half their house because the Nineteen Fifties due to our actions.

The demand for tiger elements, pushed by conventional beliefs and an unlawful world market, fuels this disaster. A surprising 65% of locals surveyed imagine within the supposed benefits of utilizing tiger organs, and these merchandise have been found in 14 nations. That is made worse by damaging views of tigers in native communities, typically formed by media tales that painting them as villains moderately than victims.

See associated: Bangladesh tries fences to tackle growing human-tiger conflict in Sundarbans

Bengal Tiger in rain at Sundarban Tiger Reserve, West Bengal, India.
Bengal tiger within the rain, Sundarbans Tiger Reserve. Picture by Soumyajit Nandy/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Media shops, as a substitute of specializing in the foundation causes of this battle – habitat loss, poaching, and unlawful commerce – typically sensationalize tiger assaults. They paint an image of bloodthirsty beasts preying on harmless people, perpetuating worry and animosity in the direction of these endangered creatures. This biased reporting not solely endangers tigers but in addition hinders conservation efforts.

Whereas the Bangladesh Authorities’s new Forest Conservation Act of 2023 is a step in the appropriate route, in acknowledging the results of legislative shortcomings, its success hinges on correct implementation and tackling the underlying issues. To really save the tigers, we want a complete plan that addresses the function of the media and builds upon this authorized framework:

  1. Cease poaching: Implement legal guidelines in opposition to searching tigers and finish the unlawful commerce of their elements.
  2. Change minds: Educate folks concerning the significance of tigers, problem damaging stereotypes, and promote coexistence.
  3. Create new alternatives: Assist native communities discover sustainable methods to earn a dwelling with out harming the forest or its wildlife.
  4. Media accountability: Maintain media shops accountable for his or her reporting. Encourage them to deal with conservation efforts, tigers’ ecological significance, and the human actions that threaten their survival.

The destiny of the Sundarbans hangs within the stability. We are able to’t lose this valuable ecosystem or its majestic apex predator. It’s time for pressing, coordinated motion to guard folks and tigers. We should study to dwell harmoniously with nature, not attempt to dominate it. This contains recognizing the ability of the media to form our perceptions and utilizing that energy responsibly to foster coexistence alongside the efficient implementation of recent legal guidelines and insurance policies. Our survival, and that of the royal Bengal tiger, is determined by it.

Mafi Islam is a Bangladeshi journalist who previously labored as a reporter and information anchor at Ekattor Tv for six years. He has studied for a grasp’s in Media and Communication Research on the College of Gothenburg in Sweden and a Grasp’s in Media, Expertise, and Society on the Darmstadt College of Utilized Sciences in Germany. He now works as a Analysis Assistant at DIPF/Leibniz Institute of Schooling Analysis and Schooling Info in Germany.

See all of Mongabay’s protection of Bangladesh’s setting here.

Banner picture: The Sundarbans is a key tiger habitat. Picture by Kaushik Ghosh by way of PixaHive (Public area).

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See associated protection:

Bangladesh tries fences to tackle growing human-tiger conflict in Sundarbans


Islam,, Md. Ziaul (2023): Are the Sundarbans mangrove forest administration insurance policies ample to preserve wildlife species? In Biodivers Conserv 32 (14), pp. 4529–4550. DOI: 10.1007/s10531-023-02708-6.

Reza, A.H.M.A; Feeroz Mohammed; Islam, M. A (2002): Man-tiger interplay within the Bangladesh Sundarbans. Accessible on-line at https://www.researchgate.web/publication/291781234, checked on 1/19/2024.

Saif, Samia; Russell, Aal M.; Nodie, Sabiha I.; Inskip, Chloe; Lahann, Petra; Barlow, Adam et al. (2016): Native Utilization of Tiger Elements and Its Position in Tiger Killing within the Bangladesh Sundarbans. In Human Dimensions of Wildlife 21 (2), pp. 95–110. DOI: 10.1080/10871209.2015.1107786.

Uddin, Nasir; Sam Enoch; Abishek Harihar; Rob S. A. Pickles; Alice C. Hughes (2023): Tigers at a crossroads: Shedding gentle on the function of Bangladesh within the unlawful commerce of this iconic huge cat. In Conservation Science and Apply 5 (7), e12952. DOI: 10.1111/csp2.12952

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