Bangladeshi police arrested Habib Talukder, a poacher suspected of killing 70 endangered Bengal tigers, after a 20-year period.
“Acting on a tipoff, we finally succeeded and sent him to jail,” local Police Chief Saidur Rahman told members of the media on June 1.
Nicknamed as “Tiger Habib”,” Talukder “is accused in nine cases filed over forest crimes,” Assistant Forest Conservator Joynal Abedin told Dhaka Tribune.
Although Talukder had earlier confessed to killing at least 70 tigers, officials “could not verify his claim yet,” Abadin said.
Talukder “secretly entered the Sundarbans and hunted wild animals despite being banned from entering the forest long ago,” Sharankhola Station Officer Abdul Mannan told Dhaka Tribune, describing Talukder as the most wanted fugitive by both police and the Forest Department.
The 50-year-old poacher lived next to the Sundarbans mangrove forest area on the border between India and Bangladesh and would flee there whenever officers raided the area, according to Rahman.
The forest, where he conducted his hunting operations, is home to one of the world’s largest populations of Bengal tigers.
Mannan suggested that Talukder might have links to “powerful gangs” operating in the forest for poaching wildlife.
Regional Forest Conservation Officer Mainuddin Khan said that Talukder’s arrest brought “sighs of relief.”
“He was a big headache for us. He posed a great threat to the forest’s biodiversity,” Khan said.
Talukder awaits trial after police arrested him in the early hours of May 29, according to Rahman.
Black market traders would buy the tigers’ pelts, bones, and flesh to sell them around the world.
According to the Forest Department, a crackdown on poaching in the region led to the increase of the tiger population — from a record low of 106 in 2015 to a total of 114 in 2018.
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