Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bangladeshi money behind tiger poaching in Sunderban

Bangladeshi money behind tiger poaching in Sunderban

The West Bengal crime investigation department recently revealed a startling fact that Bangladeshi money lenders are financing the illegal poaching of royal Bengal tigers in Indian Sunderbans, driving the creature to near extinction.

DESPITE OF stringent wild life protection laws, illegal poaching of tigers in Indian forests is going along uninhibited, pushing the species on the verge of extinction. While investigating the death of a royal Bengal tiger in Sunderbans, the West Bengal crime investigation department (CID) has made a starling revelation that has unearthed the role of Bangladeshi money behind the illegal tiger hunting trade in the forests of the Indian Sunderbans.

Bangladeshi money lenders are financing poachers, equipping them with country boats or trawlers and firearms to hunt for tigers in the dense forests of Indian Sunderbans, under the guise of Indian fishermen. Taking advantage of the scarcely patrolled porous border that is difficult to be demarcated on the expansive waterfront, these poachers easily pass over to the Indian waters, with the Indian national flag hoisted on the mast of the boat.

Upon investigation, CID suspects that of the considerable number of tiger attacks reported in the dense forests, a significant number of human victims are not innocent fishermen, woodcutters or honey-collectors but people who have been prey of animals, they had gone to hunt. The lackadaisical attitude of the forest department in investigating the cause and nature of the tiger attacks have helped in keeping the activity of the illegal trade under cover. In fact, it has come to the notice of the Indian authorities in recent years that Bangladeshi money lenders are financing fishermen, operating in the Indian Sunderbans in significant proportions, raising doubt about the actual motive behind the finance.

When the carcass of a tiger, with bullet wounds in the head floating in a river, was noticed by some tourists early this month, the West Bengal government ordered the CID to inquire into this matter. After arresting two poachers, the state investigating agency unraveled the role of Bangladeshi operators in the illegal hunting trade.

Bangladeshi money lenders have been known to frequent the house of one of the poachers in Kolkata, clarifying that the kingpins of the trade belonged to the neighbouring country.

The royal Bengal tigers, the residents of the Sunderbans, are on the verge of extinction. According to latest census report released by the National Tiger Conservation Authority in February 2008, there are 1,411 big cats in the country, a drastic decline from the 2001-2002 figures of 3,642. However, these figures exclude the tigers of the Sunderbans that according to the authorities are difficult to be monitored and verified through radio collaring. However, according to data, with the West Bengal forest department, there are 249 tigers in the Sunderban tiger reserves and 279 in greater Sunderbans.

Unfortunately, researchers of the Indian Statistical Institute tell us a different story. Based on the pug mark study of the tigers in the region, they found that only 75 tigers are left in the Sunderbans.

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