A dangerous tiger poacher who is said to have killed around 70 endangered big cats was finally caught after a 20-year hunt in Bangladesh after a tip-off.
Habib “Tiger” Talukder lived in a vast forest area that overlaps the border between India and Bangladesh where he hunted Bengal tigers, but has now been captured by authorities.
“Based on a tip we finally made it and sent him to prison,” said local police chief Saidur Rahman.
The Sundarbans mangrove forest, where talukders hunted, is home to one of the world’s largest populations of Bengal tigers – an endangered species of which only a few thousand remain.
The cats’ skins, bones, and meat are bought from black market vendors to sell in China with great interest.
Talukder, 50, was feared locally and had a reputation for fighting tigers, but began collecting honey from bees in the forest.
“We respect him equally and are afraid of him,” said the local honey hunter Abdus Salam.
“He is a dangerous man who could fight alone with Mama (Tiger) in the forest.”
Sharankhola Station policeman Md Abdul Mannan told the Dhaka Tribune that Habib was listed as the most wanted refugee by the authorities.
“He secretly invaded the Sundarbans and hunted wild animals even though he was banned from entering the forest a long time ago,” he said.
“He carried out these criminal activities, although there are several cases against him […] some powerful gangs are involved. “
Local media reported that Talukder was arrested on Saturday morning.
Bengal tigers live and hunt in the waters of the mangrove forests and are skilled swimmers.
Statistics from the Bangladesh Forest Department show that the Bengal tiger population fell from 440 in 2015 to a record low of 106 in 2004.
By 2019, thanks to anti-poaching crackdowns in the region, the population had recovered to 114.
The regional forest protection officer Mainuddin Khan said the news of Talukder’s arrest had “breathed a sigh of relief”.
“It gave us a huge headache. It was a huge threat to forest biodiversity,” he said.