Habib Talukder
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Habib Talukder, notorious tiger poacher arrested – killed 70 tigers

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Police have arrested Habib Talukder, a notorious poacher, on charges of killing as many as 70 tigers in the Sundarbans over the last 20 years.

Sharankhola police, acting on a tip-off, arrested Habib Talukder, 50, in the early hours of Saturday from Madhya Sonatola village, adjacent to the forest, under Southkhali union.

Sharankhola police OC Saidur Rahman said arrest warrants had been issued for Habib Talukder earlier in three cases. “He was on the run for a long time.”

Following his arrest, Habib Talukder was produced before a court that sent him to jail on Saturday afternoon, the police official added.

Md Joynal Abedin, the assistant conservator of forests of Sharankhola range, said Habib had earlier confessed to the Forest Department to killing at least 70 tigers.

“Habib Talukder is accused in nine cases filed over forest crimes,” Joynal added.

Sharankhola Station Officer Md Abdul Mannan said Habib was listed as a most wanted fugitive by both police and the Forest Department.

“He secretly entered the Sundarbans and hunted wild animals despite being banned from entering the forest long ago. He has been carrying out these criminal activities even though there are multiple cases against him… some powerful gangs are involved in this,” he said.

According to a tiger census released in 2018, the number of Royal Bengal tigers in the Bangladesh part of the Sundarbans had increased to 114 that year. In 2015, the number was 106.

According to Forest Department data, between 2001 and July 2020, altogether 38 tigers had died — 22 in East Division and 16 in West Division — in the Sundarbans. A number of them were killed by poachers while the others died under various circumstances.