1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Police kill suspected tiger poachers

August 9, 2015

A fatal encounter with law enforcement in Bangladesh has left at least six suspected tiger poachers dead. The shootout erupted in the prime habitat of the endangered Bengal tiger.

Tiger in den Sundarbans
Image: Getty Images/AFP/D. Chowdhury

A deadly gunfight with a gang of wildlife poachers in the Sundarbans mangrove forest, home to critically endangered Bengal tigers, erupted on Sunday, killing six poachers.

"The poachers first fired at us as we raided their den at Mandarbaria canal in the forest. We fired back. Six poachers were killed in the gunfight," local police chief Harendranath Sarker told the AFP news agency.

No police casualties were reported.

Officers seized five firearms and three tiger skins at the scene, said police official Habibur Rahman, part of an anti-poaching taskforce. The skins measured 10-11 feet (3.5 meters) and were from adult animals.

Some 440 tigers were recorded in the Sundarbans during a census conducted in 2004 in the World Heritage-listed forest, one of the world's last remaining habitats for the big cats.

However doubts were raised after the census as some wildlife experts said the 10,000-square-kilometer (3,850-square-mile) forest, straddling Bangladesh and India, could not accommodate more than 200 tigers.

Today there are an estimated 106 Bengal tigers left in the region, their declining numbers blamed on dwindling prey as well as rampant poaching by gangs who profit handsomely from their kills.

"They now sell tiger bones, meat and skin for a lot of money," Sarker said.

In recent years an elite police force has rescued live tiger cubs from poachers and seized nearly a dozen tiger skins. Bengal tigers live mainly in India, where there are an estimated 2,226.

Smaller populations also exist in Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Myanmar.

jar/cmk (AFP, dpa)

Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

Six VVER-1000 pressurized light water nuclear reactorsmake the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Station the largest NPP in Europe and among the top 10 largest in the world, July 9, 2019.
Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage