Bangladesh police have arrested a notorious poacher who eluded them for 20 years and is believed to have killed around 70 endangered Bengal tigers.
- The so-called “Tiger Habib” lived next to the forest and would flee whenever officers raided
- His poaching area was the Sunderbans mangrove forest region straddling India and Bangladesh
- Bengal tigers are unique among big cats in being able to live and hunt in the mangrove forests
Local police chief Saidur Rahman said that Habib Talukder — nicknamed “Tiger Habib” — lived next to the forest and would flee whenever officers raided the area.
Talukder’s hunting ground was the vast Sunderbans mangrove forest region straddling India and Bangladesh that is home to one of the world’s largest populations of Bengal tigers.
The cats’ pelts, bones and even the flesh would be bought by black market traders who would sell them in China and elsewhere.
Talukder, 50, started out collecting honey from wild bees in the forest and became a local legend for hunting the big cats and avoiding arrest.
“He’s a dangerous man who could fight alone with Mama [tiger] inside the forest.”
Bengal tigers are unique among big cats in being able to live and hunt in the brackish water of the mangrove forests. They are adept swimmers.
According to the Bangladesh Forest Department, the local Bengal tiger population fell to a record low of 106 in 2015 from 440 in 2004.
As of 2019, the population had crept up to 114 thanks to a crackdown on poaching and banditry in the region.
Regional forest conservation officer Mainuddin Khan said that the news of Talukder’s arrest had brought “sighs of relief”.