A tiger poacher who was known by the moniker Tiger Habib (real name: Habib Talukder) has been caught after a 20-year search by authorities.
The 50-year-old Talukder was arrested in Bangladesh after police were tipped off. He was detained this past Saturday morning. He had three previous arrest warrants issued against him, and is suspected of killing 70 endangered tigers. He had operated in a forest that borders India and Bangladesh, home to the most Bengal tigers on the planet, and fled whenever authorities pulled a raid on the area.
Amidst an alleged “remarkable” overall comeback for tigers worldwide (as characterized by the WWF), census data from 2018 says there are 114 tigers in that forest, up from a low of 106 in 2015 (as a note, the number was as high as 440 in 2004).
“He secretly entered the Sundarbans and hunted wild animals despite being banned from entering the forest long ago,” an officer told the Dhaka Tribune. “He has been carrying out these criminal activities even though there are multiple cases against him… some powerful gangs are involved in this.”
There are currently only a few thousand tigers still roaming the wild. In addition to all the natural challenges living in the wild presents, black market traders also sell tiger pelts, bones, flesh, etc.
“He was on the run for a long time,” said police chief Saidur Rahman.
Talukder first began his career collecting wild bees’ honey in the forest. A local honey hunter who spoke to the media said that he was equally respected and feared.
“He’s a dangerous man who could fight alone with [tigers] inside the forest,” that honey hunter said.