Hossain Sohel

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Friday, March 04, 2011

Disappearance of Tiger Skin and the Role of Forest Department

Royal Bengal Tigers stand out for the unique stripes on their body. The awesome beauty of this dreadful beast makes it precious and yet vulnerable. According to a statistics, a total of 26 tigers were killed in the past 10 years in Bangladesh. Usually the skin of dead tigers is supposed to be preserved at the forest department. But, the fact is different. Here is the second episode of Hossain Sohel’s report relating to the plight of tigers in the Sundarbans.

Royal Bengal Tiger is the symbol of the nation's pride and strength for its regal appearance and rage. But today, the ferocity of them has been overshadowed by the cruelty and beastliness of human being. According to a statistics of Bangladesh Forest Department, as many as 26 tigers were killed in the Sundarbans from 2001 to 2010 by hunters and local mob.

Among those, the East Division of the forest department recorded the killing of 12, while the West Division recorded the remaining 14. A statistics say, the Sundarbans’ Chandpai Range is a commonplace for the secret hunting of tigers, while, many tigers were killed by mob beating in Shatkhira’s Shyamnagor.
As per available data, skins of the 12 out of 26 dead tigers are supposed to be preserved at the office of the forest department’s East Division.

Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of East Sundarbans Mihir Majumdar said, 2 hides were decomposed, as 2 others are being processed in tannery. But, apart from these 4 only 5 skins have been found in the safe.

On the other hand, the forest department under Khulna DFO Johiruddin is supposed to store up 14 remaining skins of tigers worth some 35 million taka. The on-duty officials therein, however, failed to display the skins.

According to another statistics, 24 tiger hides were seized by law enforcers during several drives in the past 20 years.

Besides, at least 41 tigers were killed from 1980 to 2000. According to the survey, a sum of 65 tiger skins are preserved at Dhaka Forest Department Office, said Dr Tapon Kumar Dey, the Chief of Wildlife Circle.

But regrettably, only 2 out of the estimated 65 skins were found. What is most concerning is that those who are supposed to protect wildlife are instead helping in their destruction.