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  • probirbidhan 20:12 on June 26, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: business, cheapest cities, copetitiveness, , , liveable, pollution   

    Dhaka least competitive: EIU 

    FE Report June 26, 2012

    Dhaka has been named in the world’s 120 competitive cities but it ranked 118th by scoring 27.7 points.

    A report, titled Hot Spots, ranks the most competitive cities in the world for their demonstrated ability to attract capital, business, talent and tourists conducted by a new Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) research study of the Citigroup.

    With a combined population of about 750 million, the 120 cities ranked in Hot Spots represent approximately 29 per cent of the global economy and generated a combined GDP of US$ 20.24 trillion in 2011.

    In terms of ‘economic strength’, the most highly weighted category, 15 of the top 20 cities are in Asia of which two are from India — Bangalore (16th) and Ahmedabad (19th).

    Overall, it was European and US cities which are the most competitive globally, the report said.

    According to the report, the most competitive cities in the world are: New York, London, Singapore, Paris and Hong Kong (jointly fourth), Tokyo, Zurich, Washington DC, Chicago, and Boston.

    It examined 31 indicators for each city. The indicators were grouped under eight distinct, thematic categories: economic strength, human capital, institutional effectiveness, financial maturity, global appeal, physical capital, environment and natural hazards, and social and cultural character.

    A city’s overall ranking in the benchmark index is a weighted score of the underlying categories.

     

    Note: Dhaka in several other global surveys ranked among the worst polluted, least liveable and cheapest cities.

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  • probirbidhan 21:53 on June 7, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5), pollution, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)   

    UN report says environment is at breaking point 

    • World Remains on Unsustainable Track Despite Hundreds of Internationally Agreed Goals and Objectives

    UNEP Wed, Jun 6, 2012

    Ambitious Set of Sustainability Targets Can be Met, But Only with Renewed Commitment and Rapid Scaling-Up of Successful Policies

    Ms. Amina Mohamed, UNEP Deputy Executive Director, and other speakers at the GEO-5 press conference in Nairobi.

    The world continues to speed down an unsustainable path despite over 500 internationally agreed goals and objectives to support the sustainable management of the environment and improve human wellbeing, according to a new and wide-ranging assessment coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

    The fifth edition of the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5), launched on the eve of the Rio+20 Summit, assessed 90 of the most-important environmental goals and objectives and found that significant progress had only been made in four.

    These are eliminating the production and use of substances that deplete the ozone layer, removal of lead from fuel, increasing access to improved water supplies and boosting research to reduce pollution of the marine environment – for a full list of goals and status of implementation, visit: http://www.unep.org/geo/pdfs/geo5/Progress_towards_goals.pdf .

    Some progress was shown in 40 goals, including the expansion of protected areas such as National Parks and efforts to reduce deforestation.

    Little or no progress was detected for 24 – including climate change, fish stocks, and desertification and drought.

    Further deterioration was posted for eight goals including the state of the world’s coral reefs while no assessment was made of 14 other goals due to a lack of data.

    The report cautions that if humanity does not urgently change its ways, several critical thresholds may be exceeded, beyond which abrupt and generally irreversible changes to the life-support functions of the planet could occur.

    “If current trends continue, if current patterns of production and consumption of natural resources prevail and cannot be reversed and ‘decoupled’, then governments will preside over unprecedented levels of damage and degradation,” said UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

    But it’s not all bad news. The report says meeting an ambitious set of sustainability targets by the middle of the century is possible if current policies and strategies are changed and strengthened, and gives many examples of successful policy initiatives, including public investment, green accounting, sustainable trade, the establishment of new markets, technological innovation and capacity building.

    GEO-5 also points out that where international treaties and agreements have tackled goals with specific, measurable targets-such as the bans on ozone-depleting substances and lead in petrol-they have demonstrated considerable success. For this reason, GEO-5 calls for more specific targets, with quantifiable results, across a broader range of environmental challenges.

    “GEO-5 reminds world leaders and nations meeting at Rio+20 why a decisive and defining transition towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient, job-generating Green Economy is urgently needed,” said Mr. Steiner. “The scientific evidence, built over decades, is overwhelming and leaves little room for doubt.”

    “The moment has come to put away the paralysis of indecision, acknowledge the facts and face up to the common humanity that unites all peoples,” he added. “Rio+20 is a moment to turn sustainable development from aspiration and patchy implementation into a genuine path to progress and prosperity for this and the next generations to come.”

    The report also calls for a greater focus on policies that target the drivers of environmental change – such as population growth and urbanization, unsustainable consumption patterns, fossil fuel-based energy consumption and transport, and globalization.

    In particular, globalization has made it possible for trends in drivers to generate intense pressures in concentrated parts of the world very quickly, as in the case of increased demand for biofuels leading to land clearance and conversion.

    Although reducing the drivers of environmental change directly may appear politically difficult, it is possible to accomplish significant indirect benefits by targeting more expedient objectives, such as international goals on human well-being, the report says.

    Data Gaps and Measuring Progress

    Keeping track of the state of the global environment relies heavily on data and statistics collected by national governments.

    Data gaps in a number of key issues (chemicals/waste and freshwater pollution being two glaring examples) make it very difficult to measure progress towards goals in these areas.

    In the area of chemicals and waste, for example, keeping up with the ever-growing number of chemicals used in commerce and the lack of sufficient information on contaminated sites challenges many governments and hampers response efforts.

    At the same time, it is impossible to assess global trends in freshwater pollution because of inadequate data.

    GEO-5 notes that linking environmental data with national statistics can place the environment at the heart of national priorities and policy making.

    State of the Environment

    Scientific evidence shows that Earth systems are being pushed towards their biophysical limits, with evidence that these limits are close and have in some cases been exceeded.

    Atmosphere

    Of the nine internationally agreed atmospheric goals reviewed, significant progress has been made in eliminating substances that deplete the ozone layer and the phase-out of lead in gasoline, but there has been little or no progress on serious issues such as indoor air pollution and climate change.

    Ozone

    The world has nearly eliminated the production and use of ozone depleting substances, under the Montreal Protocol.

     

      • It is estimated that implementation of the Protocol will result, in the United States alone, in 22 million fewer cases of cataracts in people born between 1985 and 2100, and 6.3 million fewer skin cancer deaths by mid-century.

     

      • While further expansion of the Antarctic ‘ozone hole’ has been halted, full recovery is not expected until mid-century or later.

     

    • One group of ozone replacement chemicals – hydroflurocarbons(HFCs) – still needs to be phased out due to many having a high global warming potential.

    Lead in Gasoline

    Nearly all countries have phased out lead in gasoline. Reduced health risks due to the phase-out have estimated economic benefits of US $2.45 trillion a year, or roughly 4 per cent of global GDP.

    Climate Change

    Under current models, greenhouse gas emissions could double over the next 50 years, leading to rise in global temperature of 3°C or more by the end of the century.

    Four independent analyses show that 2000-2009 was the warmest decade on record and in 2010, the rate of emissions from fossil fuel burning and cement production was the highest ever recorded.

    The annual economic damage from climate change is estimated at 1-2 per cent of world GDP by 2100, if temperatures increase by 2.5⁰C.

    Air Pollution

    Air pollution is among the main causes of premature deaths and health problems, especially in children.

     

      • Indoor air pollution from particulate matter is responsible for nearly 2 million premature deaths annually – including 900,000 deaths in children under the age of five.

     

      • Out-door particulate matter may be responsible for around 3.7 million deaths annually.

     

      • Ground-level ozone is responsible for 700,000 respiratory deaths, over 75 per cent of which occur in Asia.

     

    • Global economic losses due to reduced agricultural yields caused by air pollution are estimated at US $14-26 billion annually.

    Biodiversity

    The world failed to reach the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010.

     

      • Around 20 per cent of vertebrate species are under threat.

     

      • The extinction risk is increasing faster for corals than for any other group of living organisms, with the condition of coral reefs declining by 38 per cent since 1980. Rapid contraction is projected by 2050.

     

    • With more than 30 per cent of the Earth’s land surface used for agricultural production, some natural habitats have been shrinking by more than 20 per cent since the 1980s.

    However, there has been some progress in terms of policy responses, such as increasing the coverage of protected areas and sharing access and benefits of genetic resources.

    Access and Benefit Sharing

    The Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit sharing of genetic resources – due to enter into force in 2015 – is unprecedented in its recognition of the rights of indigenous and local communities to regulate access to traditional knowledge in accordance with their customary laws and procedures.

    For example, in the field of pharmaceuticals, ten countries own 90 per cent of patents related to marine biodiversity.

    Complete data is not yet available on the number of agreements, the number and distribution of beneficiaries and the nature, extent and sustainability of benefits from genetic resources.

    Protected Areas

    Protected areas cover nearly 13 per cent of the world’s land surface, but only 1.6 per cent of the marine area – compared to the 17 per cent and 10 per cent respectively, identified by the Aichi targets set for 2020 and agreed two years ago.

    Data gaps on location, extent, legal status and effectiveness, as well as security concerns undermine conservation efforts. Priorities for action include allocation of adequate resources, clear management arrangements and indicators to assess the effectiveness of protected areas.

    Fish Stocks

    The last two decades witnessed unprecedented deterioration in fish stocks.

     

      • Though catches more than quadrupled from the early 1950s to the mid-1990s, they have stabilized or diminished since then – despite increased fishing.

     

      • In 2000, catches could have been 7-36 per cent higher were it not for stock depletion. This translated into economic losses to the value of US $6.4 – 36 billion.

     

    • Commercial fisheries and overfishing are the main threat to stocks. Fish products certified by the Marine Stewardship Council constituted only 7 per cent of global fisheries in 2007.

    Marine protected areas have proven in many cases to be effective conservation tools, with recent surveys showing higher fish populations inside reserves than in surrounding areas and in the same areas before reserves were established.

    Water

    Of the 30 environmental goals examined in relation to water, only one goal – that of increasing access to clean drinking water – shows significant progress.

    But less progress has been made in rural areas, especially in Africa and the Pacific.

    Water Quality and Quantity

    Despite some improvements, water quality remains the largest cause of human health problems worldwide.

    At the same time, climate change and further population growth are likely to result in even greater water shortages in many regions.

     

      • Water quality in at least parts of most major river systems still fails to meet World Health Organization (WHO) standards.

     

      • More than 600 million people are expected to lack access to safe drinking water by 2015, while more than 2.5 billion people will lack access to basic sanitation.

     

      • As water scarcity increases, some regions will be forced to rely more on energy- intensive desalination technologies.

     

      • By 2030, an estimated US $9-11 billion will be spent annually on additional infrastructure to provide sufficient quantities of water, especially in developing countries.

     

      • Curbing water pollution could result in health benefits of more than US $100 million in large OECD economies alone.

     

    • Nitrate concentrations are projected to increase due to water pollution from fertilizers and inadequate sanitation, resulting in serious threats to human health and aquatic life.

    Although freshwater pollution seems to be on the increase, proper monitoring has declined in many regions.

    Ground Water Depletion

    Further deterioration of groundwater supplies has been recorded since 2000, while global water withdrawals have tripled over the past 50 years.

    Agriculture accounts for 92 per cent of the global water footprint and many global agricultural centres are particularly dependent on groundwater, including northwest India, northeast Pakistan, northeast China and western United States.

    Integrated Water Management

    Integrated water management and monitoring tools need to be developed and strengthened if the world is to better manage current and future water challenges.

    At present, about 158 of the 263 international freshwater basins still lack cooperative management frameworks.

    Other obstacles to better water management include: Insufficient data, the absence of comprehensive monitoring systems and water security indicators to track trends over time.

    Marine Pollution

    Little or no progress has been achieved in preventing, reducing or controlling pollution of the marine environment.

     

      • The number of coastal dead zones has increased dramatically in recent years. Out of the 169 coastal dead zones worldwide, only 13 are recovering and 415 coastal areas suffer from eutrophication.

     

      • Around 80 per cent of marine pollution is caused by land-based activities.

     

      • Of 12 seas surveyed between 2005 and 2007, the South-East Pacific, North Pacific, East Asian Sea and Caribbean contained the most marine litter.

     

      • Ratification of the MARPOL convention by 150 countries is resulting in reduced pollution from ships despite gaps in implementation.

     

    • Governance of marine areas beyond boundaries is weak and fragmented.

    Extreme Events

    GEO-5 emphasizes the need to step up efforts to prevent and mitigate the impact of extreme events, including climate change-induced disasters. River channelization, floodplain loss, urbanization and changing land-use are important environmental factors increasing the impacts of floods and drought.

     

      • The number of flood and drought disasters rose by 230 per cent and 38 per cent  respectively between the 1980s and 2000s, while the number of people exposed to floods rose by 114 per cent.

     

    • The cost of coastal adaptation to climate change is estimated to reach between US $26 billion and US $89 billion by the 2040s, depending on the magnitude of sea-level rise.

    Land

    Some progress has been made to ensure better access to food, although combating desertification and droughts has seen little or no progress. Competing demands for food, feed, fuel, fibre and raw materials are intensifying pressures on land, helping to drive deforestation.

    There has been some progress on deforestation at the global level: annual forest loss decreased from 16 million hectares in the 1990s to approximately 13 million hectares between 2000 and 2010. Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean together accounted for the loss of over seven million hectares annually between 2005 and 2010.

    Improved governance and capacity building are crucial to fulfilling the potential for more sustainable land management and systems.

    Chemicals and Waste

    There has been some progress is dealing with heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants and radioactive waste.

    However, more than 90 per cent of water and fish samples from aquatic environments are contaminated by pesticides.  Pollution with persistent organic pollutants (POPs) is also widespread, in particular affecting remote areas such as the Arctic and Antarctic.

    Emerging issues requiring attention include accelerating the sound management of electronic and electrical waste (e-waste) and the challenges of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, plastics in the environment, open burning, and the manufacture and use of nanomaterials.

    Regional Outlook

    Detailed summaries that present a full picture of GEO-5’s content per region are available separately, but below is an overview of key issues and examples of successful policies that, if scaled-up and accelerated, could assist in a transition to a Green Economy.

    Africa, Asia and the Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean share the common problems of population growth and increasing consumption, worsened by rapid urbanization in Africa and Asia and the Pacific, placing growing stress on dwindling natural resources. Climate change is an overarching problem.

    However, examples of success – from a renewed understanding of the value of forests to ecosystems in Kenya, to the introduction of payments for ecosystem services in Vietnam to policies that have reduced deforestation rates in the Amazon – show progress is possible.

    Europe and North America continue to operate at unsustainable levels of consumption, and North America in particular has seen limited growth in the renewable energy industry.

    Yet policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions in Europe, such as congestion taxes, show change is achievable, as do policies in North America, such as improving the flexibility of grids to allow renewable sources more access and the implementation of carbon taxes in Quebec and British Colombia.

    West Asia is facing worsening water scarcity, land degradation and sea level rise, but can point to water resources management in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and rangeland rehabilitation in Syria as policies that can be replicated.

    Recommendations

    GEO-5 outlines ways in which the race for development needs not be at the expense of the environment or the populations which rely upon it. Indeed, many of the projects that the publication analyses prove that development can be boosted through better understanding the value of natural resources.

    Above all, a redefinition of wealth that goes beyond Gross Domestic Product to a more sustainable metric could boost the quality of life and well-being of all communities, especially those in developing nations.

    The report makes the following specific recommendations:

     

      • More reliable data are needed to make informed decisions about environmental resources and to measure progress towards meeting internationally agreed goals

     

      • There is a need for clear long-term environment and development targets and for stronger accountability in international agreements

     

      • Capacity development to support environmental information, especially in developing countries, needs to be stepped up significantly

     

      • Changes need to be both short- and long-term, and to combine technology, investment and governance measures along with lifestyle modifications grounded in a mindset shift towards sustainability- and equity-based values

     

      • Transformation requires a gradual but steadily accelerating transition process. Some successful policy innovation is already happening but need to be mainstreamed

     

      • International cooperation is essential, since environmental problems do not follow national boundaries. Global responses can play a key role in setting goals, generating financial resources and facilitating the sharing of best practices

     

      • Even though national and regional responses have shown success, a polycentric governance approach is needed to attain effective, efficient and equitable outcomes.

     

      • Improving human well-being is dependent on the capacity of individuals, institutions, countries and the global community to respond to environmental change

     

    • Rio+20 provides an opportunity to assess achievements and shortcomings, and stimulate transformative global responses.

    The full report is downloadable here:

    http://www.unep.org/geo/pdfs/geo5/GEO5_report_full_en.pdf

     
  • probirbidhan 14:44 on May 8, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: , industrial waste, industry owners, , politically influential, pollution, river protection, shipping ministry, tashforce   

    Minister blames big-guns for river encroachment, pollution 

    Tue, May 8th, 2012 bdnews24.com

    Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan has admitted that the government efforts to free riverbanks from encroachers are being hampered by influential people.

    “They obstruct eviction drive. They are mostly owners of industries and also involved in politics with various political parties,” he said after a meeting of the taskforce on river protection at his ministry on Tuesday.

    The minister said the taskforce had decided to take legal steps against those found obstructing the efforts to save the rivers across the country from encroachment and pollution.

    The taskforce has been conducting drive to remove illegal structures from the banks and foreshores of four rivers of Dhaka district – Buriganga, Shitalakkhya, Turag and Balu. Besides, it has been working on stopping illegal lifting of sand from riverbeds, restoring navigability of the rivers, and constructing boundary pillars, walls and walkways on the riverbanks.

    Shajahan, also chairman of the taskforce, said the meeting decided to evict all illegal installations and other installations approved by the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) from the city embankments along the Buriganga river from Gabtoli to Sadarghat by June this year. The Water Development Board (WDB) and the Dhaka district administration will jointly conduct the task.

    He assured that the victims would be compensated.

    Referring to the progress of the eviction drive against encroachment and installation of boundary pillars along the riverbanks of Dhaka and nearby three districts, he said some 8,100 pillars had already been installed along 220-km shorelines on the 110-km stretch of Buriganga, Shitalakkhya, Turag, Balu and Dhaleshwari rivers flowing through Dhaka and its nearby districts of Narayanganj, Munshiganj and Gazipur.

    Moreover, a total of four committees comprising seven members each headed by Deputy Commissioners have been formed in the four districts to protect the rivers, including Buriganga and Sitalakhya, surrounding Dhaka city.

    “The committees will submit progress report in this regard by June next,” Shajahan said.

    The shipping minister said that another 10-member committee headed by the BIWTA chairman had been formed to keep the rivers free from pollution and encroachers and that it had been asked to submit its findings by June.

     
  • probirbidhan 15:10 on May 5, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: , Freshwater Species, mangroves, , nature, pollution,   

    Freshwater Species of Sundarbans Mangroves 

    Posted by Brian Clark Howard of National Geographic News in Water Currents on May 4, 2012

    To see photos and the original report please click

    Mangroves anchor the edges of the world, but they are slipping away, thanks to coastal development, pollution, over-harvesting, nutrient loading, overuse of freshwater, and climate change.

    The world’s largest intact halophytic (salt-tolerating) mangrove forest is the Sundarbans, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that straddles India and Bangladesh. It forms the transition zone between the Ganges and the Bay of Bengal, and is a stronghold for the endangered Bengal tiger, as well as many other species, from monkeys to crocodiles.

    The Sundarbans are dominated by Sterculiaceae and Euphorbiaceae mangroves, which are less common in most of the rest of the world. These include Sundari (Heritiera fomes) and looking-glass (Heritiera littoralis) mangroves. The hard wood of the latter was long used in boat building.

    However, as a recent report by Dr. Md. Mizanur Rahman warns, these mangroves are in trouble. They face rising temperature, rising seas, silt and pollution washing down from deforested areas in the Himalaya, and pressures from aquaculture activities around the Sundarbans.

    They are also being assaulted by rising salinity, brought by the formerly fresh rivers and streams that feed them. As agriculture increases in the region, water levels drop, minerals accumulate, and salinity rises. Brackish water is also expanding underground.

    “Predictions from Sundarbans territory show that salinity may be double over the next few decades posing risks for survival of flora in Sundarbans,” writes Rahman.

    He continued, “Natural vegetations of such areas are being destructed causing major changes in landscapes and biodiversity. Destruction of remaining natural habitats in core areas, buffer zones and corridors are also occurring. Most of the coastal districts already face severe salinity problems, with saline water pushing up to 250 km inward during the dry season.”

    According to Rahman, Sundari trees and nypa palms are declining, changing the makeup of the ecosystem.

    He added, “A salt concentration of 20-40% is suitable for mangrove ecosystems, while 40-80% diminishes the number of species and their size. Only a few species can exist and grow in 90% salt concentration. Sundari, Bain, Kakra, Passur and Dhondul tree species are being quickly replaced by Gewa and Keora.”

    The fate of the Sundarbans mangroves lies both in how they can be protected locally, and in the health of the whole Ganges system. What happens upstream affects what comes down the pike.

    Learn more about the world’s river basins, and how they affect us.

    Brian Clark Howard is a writer and editor with NationalGeographic.com. He was formerly an editor at The Daily Green and E/The Environmental Magazine and has contributed to many publications, including TheAtlantic.com, FastCompany.com, MailOnline.com, PopularMechanics.com, Yahoo!, MSN and elsewhere. His latest book, with Kevin Shea, is Build Your Own Small Wind Power System.

     

     
  • probirbidhan 21:34 on May 1, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: , , , disaster, extinct, , poachers, pollution, Royal Bengal Tigers, , Tigers   

    Joint monitoring protocol for tigers stressed 

    Dhaka April 30, 2012

    A two-day discussion titled ‘Scientific monitoring of tigers in the Sundarbans of India and Bangladesh’ concluded on Monday putting forward a set of recommendations to strengthen monitoring to measure the changes in tiger population in the world’s largest mangrove forest.

    The two-day programme also stressed the need for information management on conservation activities, identifying threats to the ecosystem and biodiversity, and assessing the effectiveness of interventions in the Sundarbans.

    Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh (WTB) and the Forest Department jointly organised the two-day technical discussion at Ban Bhaban (Forest Department) at Agargaon.

    The international experts brought to support this process are Dr John Goodrich from Wildlife Conservation Society, Dr Linda Kerley from Zoological Society of London, Dr J L Dave Smith from University of Minnesota and Dr Yadvendradev Jhala and Dr Qamar Qureshi from Wildlife Institute of India.

    The objective of the discussion was to develop a joint monitoring protocol for the Sundarbans of Bangladesh and India. Technical tiger monitoring experts from Bangladesh, India and around the world presented papers on various scientific techniques available, reports news agency UNB.

    During the two-day meeting, the experts discussed the unique ecosystem of the Sundarbans and put forward a number of recommendations for a joint monitoring protocol for tigers across the mangrove forest.

    Earlier, on Sunday, Environment and Forests Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud, Chief Conservator of Forests M Yunus Ali.

    Joint tiger census in July 

    KOLKATA, April 23: Finally, there will be a joint survey across 10,200 square kilometres of Sundarbans, spread across Bangladesh and India, this July to determine the exact number of tigers on the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    The numbers, given by the Bangladeshi forest department and its Indian counterparts till date, are disputed on the ground that big cats frequently cross over the Indo-Bangla border.

    Every time, Sundarbans authority in India or that of Bangladesh comes up with their respective tiger census figures, they are disputed on the ground of tigers’ frequent crossing over the political Indo-Bangla border.

    Bangladesh and India have signed a protocol to prevent poaching and smuggling of the tigers and their body parts from their sanctuaries. According to the protocol, the two countries will undertake joint scientific research, launch projects to promote understanding and knowledge of Royal Bengal tigers, develop information systems, share research, and exchange personnel for training and education.

    “There will be an attempt to conduct the tiger census simultaneously in Sundarbans on either side of the border using a common methodology. If necessary, Wildlife Institute of India (WII) will help the Bangladesh Sunderbans officials with technical expertise for conducting the census,” said sources.

    According to the last tiger census in 2003, there are 440 tigers in Bangladesh. On the other hand, a census in 2006 had claimed that Indian Sunderbans had 270 tigers, which was disputed by wildlife experts. The latest tiger census in India, conducted in 2010, pegged the big cat numbers in Sundarbans between 60 and 90. But the cross-border movement has always put question mark on the claims.

    According to the protocol, two countries will start patrolling of the waterways that crisscross the mangrove forests on their respective sides to prevent poaching of tigers.

    The wildlife monitoring is extremely important to the management to ascertain how the species are responding to the current management practices. Based on monitoring results, the necessary changes are made in the management practices to make those more effective.

    “The tiger estimation has traditionally been done in Sundarbans by using pugmark method, where the fresh left hind leg pug mark impression is collected from the field and analysed,” said a Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve officer. The method was field-friendly but due to some drawbacks, Project Tiger developed a new methodology – Status of Tigers, Co-predators and Prey. Later, camera trapping, DNA tests were included to ascertain the range of tiger population in Indian Sundarbans.

    All these, forest department officers said, began during the tenure of Jairam Ramesh as Union environment and forest minister. Ramesh had suggested that India and Bangladesh should join hands to protect the Sundarbans from environmental degradation by forming Indo-Bangladesh Sunderbans Eco-System Forum.

    When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh headed to Dhaka, he formalized Ramesh’s forumthrough a specific Indo-Bangladesh Bilateral Environmental Treaty for the Sundarbans. The treaty was to facilitate implementation of the programs under the forum and mandate inclusive and coordinated reform between the two nations at state, district and grass roots levels. This, according to an official, will help tackle the problems of sensitive ecosystems as a whole rather than in the separate and piecemeal form, currently the norm in both countries.

    India Tiger Population Increasing

    by Chris Owen (RSS feed) on Apr 3rd 2012 at 3:30PM

    bengal tiger population
    India’s threatened tiger population, once on the verge of extinction, has increased by 20 percent in the last four years. As the Albany Times Unionreports, wildlife officials and naturalists report most tigresses in the central India reserves either have or will have their cubs soon. This information makes 2012 a good year for eco-travel to India.

    “These days in the course of a 10-day tiger safari people may see five, 10 or more tigers, and often with close-up views,” says Dr. Will Weber of Journey’s International. “This is partially due to increasing skill and knowledge of the guides, but there are more tigers.”

    In the past, viewing a tiger was rare. In 2010, India’s Bengal tiger was classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Now, the total population of Bengal tigers is probably still under 2,000. A nationwide census carried out in 2011 estimated a total of 1,706 up from 1,411 from the previous count in 2007.

    “If you know where, how and when to look, you will certainly find pleasant surprises,” says Avi Sakhrel, noted Indian birder, naturalist and wildlife guide who leads India wildlife tours. Sakhrel notes, “The Indian conservation community is very pleased to see positive results of efforts to save our wildlife. Even some of the lesser known parks now offer regular big cat sightings.”

    Thinking of travel to India for tiger viewing?

    Journeys International
     of Ann Arbor, Michigan offers some unique travel options for small groups that travelers can join or they can “request a private journey or custom plan for yourself, your family, your student travel group or your organization. Journeys promises immediate, enthusiastic and meticulous attention to your international adventure travel needs,” says Journeys on their website.

    We like Journeys International because the company was born out of the experiences of its founders in the Peace Corps as teachers, conservation workers and travelers in Nepal in the early 1970’s. They learned how inspirational and satisfying that environmentally-sensitive travel can be. Today, Journeys International is the longest standing family-owned global ecotourism company in the United States offering full-service exotic, guided cross-cultural explorations, nature safaris, treks and eco-tours in remote corners of Asia, Africa, the Americas and the Pacific.

     
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