When the carcass of a tiger, with bullet wounds in the head floating in a river, was noticed by some tourists early this month, the West Bengal government ordered the CID to inquire into this matter. After arresting two poachers, the state investigating agency unraveled the role of Bangladeshi operators in the illegal hunting trade. Bangladeshi money lenders have been known to frequent the house of one of the poachers in Kolkata, clarifying that the kingpins of the trade belonged to the neighbouring country.
The royal Bengal tigers, the residents of the Sunderbans, are on the verge of extinction. According to latest census report released by the National Tiger Conservation Authority in February 2008, there are 1,411 big cats in the country, a drastic decline from the 2001-2002 figures of 3,642. However, these figures exclude the tigers of the Sunderbans that according to the authorities are difficult to be monitored and verified through radio collaring. However, according to data, with the West Bengal forest department, there are 249 tigers in the Sunderban tiger reserves and 279 in greater Sunderbans.
Unfortunately, researchers of the Indian Statistical Institute tell us a different story. Based on the pug mark study of the tigers in the region, they found that only 75 tigers are left in the Sunderbans.
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