Bangladeshi man arrested for beating tiger to death

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Bangladeshi man arrested for beating tiger to death

DHAKA (AFP) — Police in southeastern Bangladesh arrested a man Thursday for beating an endangered Bengal tiger to death after it strayed into a village, a forest official said.

The tiger had entered the village in Satkhira, which is close to the border with India, and residents beat it with sticks because they feared for their lives, the head official for the Sundarbans mangrove forest told AFP.

“The tiger did not kill anyone, but some villagers were afraid so they decided to beat it to death with large sticks,” Aboni Kumar Bhushan said, adding that the animal’s corpse had been taken away by forest officials for an autopsy.

“Three villagers were injured as they tried to pin the tiger down,” he said.

The official said police were preparing to lay charges against the man who was the “ring leader” of the attack, although dozens had helped to kill the animal.

Government figures show 18 people in Bangladesh were killed by tigers in the first six months of this year. All but one of the deaths were in Satkhira district.

Twenty-one people were killed during the whole of 2008, according to another forest official, Mihir Kumar Daw.

Conservationists say tiger-related human deaths are on the rise because a shortage of food in the Sundarbans is forcing them to abandon their traditional territory to look elsewhere for survival.

A cyclone struck the Sundarbans and neighbouring areas on May 26 this year, contaminating fresh water ponds that tigers drink from with salty water.

Forest officials had feared for the survival of the great cats in the area but no deaths were reported.

The Sundarbans, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lies on the delta of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers, straddling the border between India and Bangladesh.

The IUCN Red List estimates there are less than 2,500 Bengal tigers left in the world with as few as 200 of those in Bangladesh.

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