Four tiger poachers were killed in a mangrove forest in Bangladesh on Wednesday during a shootout with police, officials said.
The alleged poachers opened fire at Rapid Action Battalion, the anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, in the Sundarbans, the world’s biggest mangrove forest, after they were questioned, AFP reported.
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The four men, who were found dead along with guns and ammunition on the boat, were identified as members of a gang that allegedly poaches Bengal tigers and Irrawaddy dolphins, officials said.
“These gangs have become a major threat to wildlife conservation,” Tajul Islam Islam, a spokesperson for the Rapid Action Battalion, said.
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Bengal tigers hold an endangered status with the World Wildlife Fund. With around 2,500 remaining in the wild, the mammals are found mainly in India. Irrawaddy dolphins are also endangered and are found in Asia. According to officials, there are an estimated 92 left in existence.
Authorities last week announced that tiger population in the Bangladesh area of the Sundarbans has increased from 106 four years ago to 114.