Bangladesh po­lice res­cues tigers, li­ons from smug­glers

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

Dhaka, Bangladesh - Bangladesh po­lice of­fi­cials on Mon­day res­cued four tiger and lion cubs that they said were be­ing smug­gled to In­dia and ar­rested two sus­pects.

Of­fi­cials said they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether the tiger cubs were poached from the Sun­dar­bans, the world’s largest man­grove for­est, which has a sig­nif­i­cant pop­u­la­tion of en­dan­gered Ben­gal tigers.

But they had no idea where the lion cubs could have come from. Po­lice of­fi­cials act­ing on a tip-off found the an­i­mals in wooden boxes in a car in the western city of Jes­sore, district po­lice chief Anisur Rah­man said.

“We de­tained two per­sons in this con­nec­tion. They are an­i­mal smug­glers who were de­liv­er­ing the cubs to a man at Shar­sha,” Rah­man said, re­fer­ring to a town on the In­dian bor­der. “We sus­pect they were be­ing brought here to be smug­gled to In­dia,” he said.

Bangladesh brought in new laws in 2010 to pro­tect wildlife, but poach­ing re­mains ram­pant. In 2012, the coun­try’s elite po­lice res­cued three Ben­gal tiger cubs af­ter a raid in the cap­i­tal.

The tiger pop­u­la­tion in the 10,000sq km Sun­der­bans for­est dropped to just over 100 in 2015 from an es­ti­mated 440 a decade ear­lier.

The res­cue comes just months af­ter Bangladesh po­lice de­clared vic­tory over crime in the Sun­dar­bans, cred­it­ing a gun buy­back scheme.

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