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Tiger Poachers Killed During Raid of Bangladesh Hideout

Image: Tiger Poachers Killed During Raid of Bangladesh Hideout
Armed rangers patrol Bangladesh's Sundarbans forest. (Rafiqur Rahman/Reuters)

By    |   Monday, 10 Aug 2015 09:14 AM

Six suspected tiger poachers were killed on Sunday during a shootout with Bangladesh police who raided the poachers' hideout in the country's Sundarbans area where the big cats roam.

Authorities earlier arrested seven people suspected in the illegal Bengal tiger skin trade, police told the Los Angeles Times.

When police returned to the area with the arrested suspects to retrieve tiger skins they came under fire. Five officers were wounded in the exchange while six of the seven suspects died in the gunfight.

"The gunfight went on for about 15 to 20 minutes," Harendra Nath Sarker, officer-in-charge of the Koyra police, told BBC News. "We recovered three tiger skins, and five guns and ammunition. From the look and smell of the skins, it seemed that the tigers were killed not more than a week ago."

BBC News said local Bangladesh media outlets questioned the police version of what happened because the suspects had been arrested before being shot and killed.

According to World Wildlife.org, there are less than 2,500 Bengal tigers left in the wild in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Myanmar. The website said the Sundarbans has become threatened by rising sea levels and poaching has put the tiger population there at risk.

The India and Bangladesh-shared Sundarbans' mangroves are the only forests where tigers are found today, according to World Wildlife.org. The Sundarbans is made up of 10,000 square kilometers of dense forest, according to the BBC News.

"The numbers have declined largely because of poaching, which is the main threat to the tigers in Sundarbans," said Anwarul Islam, professor of zoology at Dhaka University. "The threat comes not only from stray poaching, which is rampant, but also from organized gangs of poachers."

"Unless we have an independent, dedicated anti-poaching unit, the future is not bright for the tigers in Bangladesh," said Islam.

BBC News reported that Bangladesh officials in July counted 106 tigers in the wild there, a sharp decline from the 440 animals recorded 10 years ago.

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Six suspected tiger poachers were killed on Sunday during a shootout with Bangladesh police who raided the poachers' hideout in the country's Sundarbans area where the big cats roam.
tiger, poachers, killed, bangladesh
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2015-14-10
Monday, 10 Aug 2015 09:14 AM
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