Man Believed To Have Poached 70 Endangered Tigers Finally Arrested After 20 Years

Poaching is a horrible threat to wildlife, and after a 20-year search, police in Bangladesh have arrested a poacher who is believed to have killed at least 70 endangered Bengal tigers.

Known as “Tiger Habib,” the man, Habib Talukder, had been evading police for quite some time.

He had been placed as a most wanted fugitive by both police and the Forest Department for his nefarious poaching operations that were conducted in the Sundarbans mangrove forest, an area that lies between India and Bangladesh.

Photo: flickr/Linda De Volder

According to the Dhaka Tribune, local police chief, Saidur Rahman, shared that the 50-year-old Talukder had been living beside the forest but would flee whenever police raided the area looking for him.

However, he was finally caught thanks to a tip-off that came in to police. Talukder already had 3 arrest warrants out for him.

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As the Dhaka Tribune reported, Sharankhola police managed to arrest Talukder early Saturday morning while he was in the Madhya Sonatola village, right beside the forest.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

As Sharankhola Station Officer, Md Abdul Mannan, shared with the media outlet, “He has been carrying out these criminal activities even though there are multiple cases against him… some powerful gangs are involved in this. He was on the run for a long time.”

According to a tiger census that was released in 2018, the Bengal tigers in Bangladesh’s part of the Sundarbans had gone up to 114 that year.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

But based on data from the Bangladesh Forest Department, there was a record low in local Bengal tiger numbers in 2015 as the population had dropped to 106 – having gone from 440 in 2004. Because of the crackdown on poaching, the numbers were able to increase to 114 in 2019.

Mainuddin Khan, a regional forest conservation officer, told AFP that the arrest of Taluder was met with “sighs of relief,” as he had been a “great threat to the forest’s biodiversity.”

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The origin of Talukder’s poaching started off when he would go into the forest in order to collect honey from wild bees. However, he then began to hunt tigers and eventually became somewhat of a local legend while he evaded capture.

A local honey hunter, Abdus Salam, said to AFP of Talukder, “We equally respect him and are scared of him. He’s a dangerous man who could fight alone with Mama [tiger] inside the forest.”

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Hopefully, Talukder’s arrest will be a step in the right direction for the conservation of tigers and will help to further dispel poaching in the area.

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