Bangladesh: six Bengal tiger poachers shot dead by police

Local media claims the men were arrested before they were shot but police insist they died in a gunfight

(Image credit: STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)

Police in Bangladesh have shot dead six men they say were tiger poachers at a hideout in the world's largest mangrove forest. Three "fresh" tiger pelts were recovered from the scene in the Sundarbans region, says the BBC.

There are thought to be just 100 Bengal tigers living in the forest, down from 440 ten years ago. There are fewer than 2,300 of the animals left alive in the world. Most are in India or Bangladesh but there are some in Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan and China.

A local police official told the BBC that the men were killed in a gunfight which lasted for 20 minutes and was initiated by the gang. The BBC says that some local media have cast doubt on the story, however, suggesting the men were arrested and then shot.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

English-language Bangladeshi paper the Daily Star pointedly uses quote marks around each mention of a "gunfight" or "shoot-out". Indian paper The Hindu has a more complex version of the story from an un-named police source. It says the six men had been captured and were leading police to their hideout when their "associates" opened fire. The six men were all killed in the crossfire, according to The Hindu.

The paper also claims five policemen were injured in the gunfight - and seven guns were seized along with the pelts. The pelts appeared to be less than three weeks old, police said.

The recent discovery that tiger numbers had declined sharply in the past decade has led to calls for intensified anti-poaching campaigns, says The Hindu. The new census data was announced just two weeks before the killings.

The Sundarbans mangrove forest, the world's largest, covers almost 4,000 square miles in Bangladesh and India, stretching along the coastline.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.