Notorious tiger poacher wanted for 20-years arrested in Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh: Bangladeshi police have apprehended a notorious poacher who has been on the run for the past 20 years and is suspected of killing about 70 endangered Bengal tigers.

Habib Talukder, also known as "Tiger Habib," lived near the forest and would flee anytime officers stormed the region, according to local police head Saidur Rahman.

"Acting on a tip-off, we finally succeeded and sent him to jail," he told AFP.

The huge Sunderbans mangrove forest region, which straddles India and Bangladesh and is home to one of the world's greatest populations of Bengal tigers, was Talukder's hunting territory.

Black market traders would buy the cats' pelts, bones, and even flesh, and sell them in China and elsewhere.

Talukder, 50, began collecting honey from wild bees in the bush and gained a local reputation for his daring hunts for large cats while eluding capture.

"We equally respect him and are scared of him," said local honey hunter Abdus Salam.

"He's a dangerous man who could fight alone with Mama (tiger) inside the forest."

Bengal tigers are the only big cats that can live and hunt in the brackish water of mangrove forests, making them one of a kind among great cats. They can swim really well.

The Bengal tiger population dropped to 106 in 2015 from 440 in 2004, according to the Bangladesh Forest Department.

Because to a crackdown on poaching and banditry in the area, the population had risen to 114 by 2019.

Mainuddin Khan, a regional forest conservation official, said the news of Talukder's arrest had brought "sighs of relief."

"He was a big headache for us. He posed a great threat to the forest's biodiversity," he told AFP.

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