Bangladesh Creates 300-Strong Special Task Force to Protect Endangered Bengal Tiger

bengal tiger photo

Photo: Wikipedia, CC

Protecting the ±400 Tigers Living in the Area

Around 400 tigers live in the Sundarbans forest that stands between Bangladesh and India. They are highly endangered and targeted by poachers, which is why, after seizing three tiger skins and a large quantity of bones a few months ago, Bangladeshi authorities have decided to set up a special task force to protect the tigers.

bengal tiger photo

Photo: Wikipedia, CC

The special force will have around 300 members.

Minister of Environment and Forests Hasan Mahmud said that the setting up of the new wildlife force was long overdue.

"The forest department staff in Bangladesh need more training, because now the poachers are very sophisticated," he said.

"Their sophistication has been increased but the sophistication of the forest department has not been increased over the last couple of years. So, we have to train them and we have to equip them."

Most of the money to set up the new Wildlife Crime Control unit will come from the World Bank loan of $36m (£21.8m).

The new force will also tackle a growing trade in the illegal trafficking of wild animals. (source)

It will also be very important to go after the demand side; capturing poachers can helps, but as long as buyers can bid for the body parts of endangered species with impunity, the problem will persist. But it is now possible with modern forensics science (DNA, 'fingerprinting' pelts, tagging animals with RFID tags, etc) to track down the source of animal trafficking, and it should also be possible to figure out where they are auctioned off.

Education also has to be part of the solution. Many who buy from poachers believe all kinds of superstitions and non-scientific tales about the curative powers of tiger bones (or whatever), and showing that it simply doesn't work should - over time - reduce demand. The question is: Will that happen fast enough, or will whole species go extinct first?

More on Endangered Tigers
India Says Wild Tiger Population Up by 15%, But Some Doubt the Accuracy of that Number
Fewer than 50 Wild Tigers Left in China, Says Wildlife Conservation Society
Mass Grave Containing Rare Animals (Tigers, Lions, Leopards, etc) Discovered at Chinese Zoo
Chinese Zoo Accused of Letting 11 Rare Siberian Tigers Starve to Death

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