Published in The Star Weekend Magazine on 9 February 2010
A group of tourists have lodged a complaint with the Ministry of Tourism after seeing “too many” tigers in the Sundarbans this week.
The 20 tourists, including nationals of overseas countries such as Turkey, England, Germany and Australia, spent around US$240 each on a three night cruise with Guide Tours.
Adventurous tourists often visit the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans, but with little or no expectation of seeing the ‘man-eating’ Royal Bengal Tiger.
In a joint letter addressed to the Ministry of Tourism, the tourists claimed that they hoped for “nothing more than a glimpse of a tiger, or perhaps tiger tracks and faeces.”
The tourists believe that spotting large numbers of tigers makes them an easy target for ridicule when they return to their workplaces.
Hasan Reza, a 39-year-old from Mymensingh, said, “My photos have been ruined by too many tigers.
“Even my closest friends will accuse me of faking them with PhotoShop.”
Guide Tours attributes the sightings to recent reports from tigers that they are lonely and need more human contact in their day-to-day lives.
Florian Sichling, a 34-year-old from Germany said, “I saw tigers at play, drinking at the water hole and killing wild pigs.
“Since going on this trip I no longer need to spend money on safari adventures such as these.
“I would like Guide Tours to tell me what I will do for a holiday next winter.”
A spokesperson from the Ministry of Tourism said, “The tourists have every right to be upset and we are treating the matter seriously.”
Rony Chowdhury of Guide Tours said, “Our tourists don’t usually see any tigers.
“In fact, the last time we spotted any was around three years ago.
“We have apologised to this group unreservedly.”
During the trip, which included forest walks and long-boat rides, otters, deer, wild pigs, lizards and snakes were also seen in the wild.
However the tourists stated that they saw an acceptable amount of these species.
Future trips to the Sundarbans have been temporarily halted until the government is satisfied that no further tiger sightings will occur.
*** This article was inspired by The Onion, which is a website full of of spoof news articles.