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Tigers being poisoned in Sundarbans

Poachers, with the help of local politicians, are poisoning tigers inside the Sundarbans.

The racketeers use poisoned venison as bait to poach tigers, reveals a study jointly conducted by the Dhaka University and Jahangirnagar University in association with two UK universities and a USA university.

The study published in January this year also said the racketeers used a lethal poison named Furadan is one of the most toxic pesticides.The pesticideis being widely used in agriculture in Bangladesh.

The research on the tiger population in the Sundarbans did not unveil who the smugglers were and the tigers were being smuggled from the areas. It only detailed out how tigers are being killed inside the Sundarbans.

But a report submitted to Bangladesh government by Interpol unveiled names behind the tiger poaching.

The report titled ‘Tiger killing inside Sundarbans’, mentioned names of 32 politicians and local powerful persons, who backed the killing of the tigers and were involved with the smuggling.

The report also mentioned the names of a ruling Awami League MP from Satkhira-4 constituency, SM Jaglul, and four AL-backed union parishad members and two BNP-backed UP members in the areas.

Corpses of the tigers are mainly being smuggled to China, Thailand and Indonesia, the report added.

Asked about the matter, environment and forests minister Anwar Hossain Manju said, “We have deployed several law enforcing agencies including RAB and police in the Sundarbans. But it’s not possible to ensure surveillance everywhere in the big forest.”

In his study, researcher Abdul Aziz collected six corpses of deer poisoned with pesticide inside Sundarbans between 2014 and 2016.

He also recovered body parts of tigers near Dobeki forest police outpost at Satkhira range of the Sundarbans.

Abdul Aziz said the tiger was baited with poisoned venison.

Forest division, with a private organisation Wild Team, recovered corpses of 30 tigers from different parts of the country between 2011 and 2016.

Out of 22 tiger skins, which were recovered during the period, a single skin was found with a bullet mark.

Researcher Abdul Aziz assumed that rest of the tigers were poisoned to death.

Abdul Aziz told Prothom Alo that fishermen with the help of forest robbers put down the poisoned bait for killing tigers.

The forest division’s Khulna circle forest officer Amir Hossain Chowdhury also chorused with the researcher and said some racketeers put poisoned venison as bait to poach tigers.

In past one decade, the number of the tigers in the Sundarbans has been reduced by half.

In 2004, UNDP and Bangladesh’s forest division identified 440 members of the tiger population using pugmark method.

Another report in 2015 said the tiger population had reduced to 106.

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