The Bangladeshi authorities have stepped up their fight against tiger poachers. They have to because the poachers, funded by big business, usually in China, are winning the battle. Not enough resources are put into protecting the Bengal tiger. Having stepped up their fight against the poachers, six suspected poachers have been shot dead in a gunfight with Bangladeshi police in a hideout within the world’s largest mangrove forest which straddles both India and Bangladesh and where the largest single population of the Bengal tiger now lives albeit unnaturally. They are living in sea water swamps. There is conflict with workers.
The area is the Sundarbans on the south coast of Bangladesh (it is a tiger reserve). It covers an area of 100,000 km². About 10 years ago it was thought that there were about 400 Bengal tigers living amongst the swamps. A recent survey concluded that there were about a hundred remaining. Although surveys assessing population sizes of wild cat species are notoriously unreliable.
It seems that desperate measures are now taking place to protect the tiger. As I recall, this is the first or one of the first shootouts resulting in the killing of poachers. Some people say that there was no shootout but the poachers were captured and then executed.
If there was a gunfight it lasted about 20 minutes and three tiger skins together with the guns and ammunition were recovered. It was estimated that the tigers had been killed about a week ago.
I can understand the need to shoot the poachers. As mentioned, these are desperate times to prevent the extinction of the Bengal tiger in the wild. The only true way and lasting way to protect the Bengal tiger is to shut down the demand for its body parts.
A lot of Asian people think that eating a tiger’s body parts improves their health. That attitude needs to be snaffled out as soon as possible and the best way to do that is for the Chinese authorities to fund educational programs to change attitudes and at the same time to enforce laws against the importation of tiger body parts and their consumption.
It is a barbaric practice unfit for the 21st-century and perhaps the major cause of the threatened extinction of this magnificent animal.
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