The Story of the Sundarbans Tiger Project
The Sundarbans Tiger Project (STP) started in 2004 as a scientific research project – very little was known about tigers in this watery world, and the team first need to find out more about the Sundarbans tigers in order to better understand how to conserve them.
One day in 2007 the STP team was researching inside the forest, when a small man-powered fishing boat slowly approached them. Inside this boat they found a dead man and a second man lying heavily wounded. They were both the victims of a tiger attack.
The STP team quickly transported the injured man to hospital before he succumbed to his wounds and the dead man to his village for burial. This incident triggered the team to set up the STP Tiger Response Team which now patrols the forest by boat, providing emergency medical treatment and transport for tiger attack victims.
This incident also marked the beginning of the growth of the STP team. ZSL joined STP in 2008 to help the team to transition from a small research project to a holistic conservation team. To make this happen, ZSL is working with STP’s other partners which include the Bangladesh Forest Department, a national NGO called the Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh, the University of Minnesota, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The team’s philosophy is the more partners we have, the more able we will be to save tigers.
The team is learning more and more about the main threats to tigers, and upon this knowledge base, STP is evolving rapidly to ensure that the issues illuminated by research are tackled via conservation action on the ground.