Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bengal tiger beaten to death in Bangladesh after killing 3 people

TIGER related links:

A Bengal tiger beaten to death in Bangladesh after killing 3 people. A widllife official said the increasing human presence [...] was mainly to blame for a growing number of tiger-related deaths:

DHAKA (AFP) - Thousands of villagers armed with sticks and machetes beat to death a Royal Bengal tiger Saturday after it killed three people in southwestern
Bangladesh, police said.

The critically endangered animal, one of about 600 in the Sunderbans, the world's largest mangrove forest, was lassoed after entering a village and killing three people Friday night, police chief Abdur Razzak said.

"More than 3,000 angry villagers spent the night looking for the tiger and when they learnt it had killed three goats early this morning (Saturday), they surrounded the area and caught it with a lasso," the local official said.

"They strung up the eight-feet (2.6-metres) long tiger and beat it to death," he told AFP. A forest official said it was the first time in more than four years a tiger had been killed by people living near the 5,800 square kilometres (2,320 square miles) portion of the Sunderbans in Bangladesh.

"It was responsible for about half a dozen other deaths in recent months. It became a man-eater and every now and then it entered villages to look for prey," assistant forest conservator Rajesh Chakma said.

Chakma said the increasing human presence in the dense western part of the forest was mainly to blame for the growing number of tiger-related deaths.

Human beings are not natural prey of tigers. Some wildlife experts say the tigers turn to attacking people if they are incapacitated by injuries or old age. Tigers kill about 20 people every year in Bangladesh, officials say.

According to a UN-funded census, the 10,000 square kilometres Sunderbans mangrove forest, which straddles India and Bangladesh, is home to at least 668 Royal Bengal tigers, with some 420 living on the Bangladesh side.

Wildlife officials say the world's Royal Bengal tiger population has fallen to between 5,000 and 6,000 from around 100,000 at the turn of the last century due to poaching for their skins and bones, which are used in traditional medicines, and habitat loss due to human encroachment. The Swiss-based International Nature Conservation Union has classified the Bengal Tigers as "critically endangered."