According to an Associated Press report, yesterday police in Koyra Upazila, Bangladesh killed six suspected Bengal tiger poachers in a gunfight that broke out during a raid. The shootout occurred in the world’s largest mangrove forest located in southwestern Bangladesh which experts say is home to the endangered Royal Bengal tigers.
Harendra Nath Sarker, officer-in-charge of the Koyra police, reported that following the fatal altercation with the suspects, six bodies were recovered in the Sundarbans forest. The 3,860-square-mile forest straddles both Bangladesh as well as India. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Sarker added that officers also located three adult tiger skins as well as numerous firearms from the suspected poachers.
Initially the local media reported that the suspected poachers were captured in different sections of the forest before they were shot. Police, however, maintain the suspects died during the actual raid. Five local police officers were reported wounded.
Police Superintendent for the surrounding Khulna district, Habibur Rahman, noted that authorities had recovered three Bengal tiger skins and arrested seven suspects earlier yesterday during a raid on a Sundarbans area hideout. Rahman added that officers were headed back to that location with the suspects in order to recover additional skins when associates of the suspected poachers began firing on them. Sarker stated that six of the seven men in custody were killed when they became caught in the line of fire.
A year-long scientific survey completed this past April utilized video cameras to estimate the current Bengal tiger population to be somewhere between 83 and 130. Bangladeshi forest officials believe that poaching is responsible for the decline in the Bengal tiger population. According to the World Wildlife Fund, there are lat present less than 2,500 Bengal tigers remaining in the wild.
Police Kill 6 Suspected Bengal Tiger Poachers