New has started to come through of a raid by Bangladesh’s special forces on a house used by smugglers in the illegal wildlife trade. Following the raid three tiger cubs were found and rescued.
The raid by Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) commandos was on a house located in the capital Dhaka earlier today (Monday 11th June).
Local television showed footage of three 2 month old Royal Bengal tiger cubs playing in a cage after the raid had successfully been completed. One person, Zakir Hossain, was arrested.
“The cubs seem to be in sound health,” forest department officer Fazlul Hoque told AFP from the scene.
The cubs were thought to have been in the capital for about 2 or 3 days before a tip-off earlier today led to the decision to raid the house. The authorities believe that the tigers would be been exported to Malaysia had the decision to act quickly not been made.
Bangladesh is though to have 440 of the remaining global total of 2,500 Bengal tigers still in the wild. Most of Bangladesh’s tigers are found in the Sundarbans, a mangrove and forested area that is found in the borderlands of Bangladesh and India.
It’s thought the rescued tiger cubs were taken from the Sunderbans.
When the commandos raided the house in the Shaymoli district of Dhaka they found a wide range of empty cages and they believe that the house had been used as a transit hub for smugglers for a number of years. It’s thought that the smuggling gang involved trafficked a range of species including birds and reptiles from the house as well as tigers.
Update: 13th June 2012. There are some concerns over the three tiger cubs.