Sundarbans is home of Bengal tiger and the place where Human tiger conflict (HTC) is more frequent compared to any other tiger area in the world. On an average 20-30 people were killed every year due to HTC in Sundarbans area and at least 3 tigers being killed per year. When HTC occurs in a certain village, it is always becomes a big issue. Information about tiger attacks can spread throughout the village very fast. As a result, many people will start to discuss and try to find a solution for this situation. Frequently, the solution that comes out from this situation is retaliation killing of the tiger by the community. This situation also arises in the Sundarbans area.
In 2008 WildTeam established the first Village Tiger Response Team. VTRT is a volunteering based activity to resolve HTC in the villages adjacent to Sundarbans, each team consists of villagers who primarily manage stray situations and control the crowd until the rescue team arrives. A team has 5-7 members and one leader. Currently there are 49 teams around the Sundarban territory of Bangladesh.
There are many fascinating stories of people who chose to join such teams, one of them decided to become VTRT member in 2008 after his father was killed by a tiger in the forest.
“In the past I killed tigers because I did not know if tigers are important for our life. But then after my father was killed by a tiger, I realized that what I did was wrong. Something from within myself forced me to shun this path of poaching. Now, I feel sorry for killing many tigers before. I promise I would utilize my skills to protect the tigers. That is why when WildTeam introduced me to the VTRT, I had no doubt to join the team”.
“Since becoming a VTRT member, I have rescued two tigers and tried to prevent retaliation killing of tigers by communities. I also conducted awareness activities in my village to inform people about what the importance of the Sundarbans and the tiger. I feel extremely proud to work as VTRT to conserve the tiger and the Sundarbans”.
VTRT is such a promising solution for reducing the number of retaliatory killing of tigers as a result of HTC. The above brave person is only one of many who dedicated their time and energy to conserve the tiger. I hope this passion can spread all over the world. Long live tigers on the world!