A gunfight erupted between Bangladeshi police and suspected tiger poachers on August 9, leaving six suspects dead.
Police say they attempted to raid a poaching hideout in the Sundarbands in southeastern Bangladesh when they were shot at, leading to a 20-minute firefight. When the smoke cleared, six of the seven suspects were killed, while five officers were wounded. Officials seized five guns, ammunition, and three tiger skins.
The Sunderbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest, is home to a dwindling number of Bengal tigers, which are targeted by poachers for their skins, bones, teeth, and claws. A survey in June found that the tiger population in the Sundarbans has plummeted to 100 animals, compared to 440 only 10 years ago.
Experts have attributed the decline to rampant illegal hunting.
In response to the tigers’ threatened condition, officials have stepped up their anti-poaching efforts. Sunday’s deadly run-in with the suspected poachers comes just two weeks after the survey was released
According to BBC News, local media outlets have questioned the police’s account of the most recent firefight, claiming the suspects were arrested before being killed.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, there are less than 2,500 Bengal tigers left in the wild, which are found mostly in India and Bangladesh.