Monday, July 15, 2024

3 tigers poisoned to death

One of poaching gang held with 4 skulls, 3 skins, bones
Posing as buyers, forest officials have arrested a member of an organised gang of poachers with four skulls, three hides and 138 bones of tigers at Sharankhola upazila of Bagerhat.
The arrested, Jamal Fakir, admitted that he poisoned three tigers to death, and claimed to find one skull in the Sundarbans.
“It took us one and a half months to kill the tigers,” Jamal told The Daily Star at Bagerhat forest office after his arrest on Wednesday.
Of the three, two were adult tigers and the other was an adult tigress, said Mihir Kumar Doe, divisional forest officer (DFO) of the Sundarbans.
Jamal hails from Uttar Tafalbari village of Sharankhola upazila, reports our Bagerhat correspondent.
Jamal claimed that he and three others used to fish for living.
“We would not have done it hadn’t the men of Julfikar group pressed us for quite some time,” Jamal said.
Julfikar is the head of the four major groups operating in Sharankhola and Chandpai ranges that have been killing animals and collecting their hides and skulls for a long time, locals said.
The other gangs are known as Shohagh Bahini (group), Razu Bahini and Motaleb Bahini.
According to Jamal, seven to eight of Julfikar’s men, mainly based in Mongla, hired him and three others to “kill some tigers”.
The other three are Khair Mia, Dholu Mollah and Hemaet Hawlader of the same village Jamal comes from. Police are trying to catch them.
However, to “kill some tigers”, they had to kill other animals to use their meat as bait.
“We used to kill some wild pigs first. To attract the tigers, we used to cut the pigs into pieces and scatter those in their territory after mixing poisons and sedatives,” he explained.
Once the tigers were dead after taking the poisoned meat, they skinned the animals, chopped off the flesh and buried the pieces to clean the bones off the flesh.
On a tip-off, forest officials of the East Zone of the Sundarbans decided to contact him in guise of buyers.
“We have been in touch with them for over a month. As we kept bargaining, we were becoming sure that they have been in the illegal trade for quite some time,” Mihir, the forest official, said.
After several days of hard bargaining, Jamal agreed to sell each skull for Tk one lakh, each square feet of skin for Tk 17,000 and each kilogram of bones for Tk 20,000.
“In total, we agreed to pay him Tk 16.70 lakh and fixed Wednesday morning for delivery,” Mihir said.
As decided, the forest officials went to meet Jamal at an abandoned house at Bangla Bazar village in Sharankhola early on the day.
Meanwhile, the Sharankhola Contingent of the Coast Guard and forest officials laid a siege to the area and caught Jamal.
The skin of the biggest tiger is over 10 feet long. The other two are a little below 10 feet each. The 138 pieces of bones weigh 31 kilograms.
They were all taken to Bagerhat forest office.
Our Bagerhat correspondent reports that the forest officials called police and Rapid Action Battalion members to interrogate Jamal.
They hope to capture some “major players” in the trade following Jamal’s arrest.
According to law enforcers, 10-15 major groups of poachers are operating in the Sundarbans scattered over the southern districts from Barguna to Satkhira.


Via: The Daily Star

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