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Suspected Tiger Poachers Shot Dead In Bangladesh

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Police in Bangladesh have shot dead six suspected poachers in a forest which is home to critically endangered Royal Bengal tigers.

According to police, the bodies of the six were recovered following a gun battle with a gang of alleged poachers in the southwestern Sundarbans mangrove forest - a UNESCO World Heritage site.

A police spokesman said firearms and the skins of three adult tigers were found at the scene.

Police say the suspected poachers died during the raid, however local media reports suggested they were killed after they were arrested in different parts of the forest.

The 10,000 sq km (3,860 sq mile) forest straddles Bangladesh and India and is the largest continuous mangrove forest in the world.

A recent survey, which used video cameras to track the forest's tiger population, found it is home to far fewer tigers than previously thought.

The year-long survey, which ended in April 2015, found between 83 and 130 tigers remain.

In 2004 a census based on collecting tigers' paw prints estimated there were some 440 tigers living in the Sundarbans forest.

Big game hunting has been thrust into the spotlight in recent weeks following the killing of the famous Zimbabwean lion Cecil.

Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer paid around £35,000 to hunt and kill the animal, sparking global outrage.

The researcher who studied Cecil the lion for most of his life has now called for lion hunting to be banned completely.

Brent Stapelkamp, who leads the Hwange lion project, told Sky News no amount of money can act as compensation for losing such a creature, adding: "My personal feeling is lion hunting shouldn't exist."

"They're too rare, they're too sensitive, and the repercussions felt after that hunt far exceed anything in any other species," he said.

Earlier this week Cecil was projected onto New York's Empire State building to raise awareness about the plight of endangered animals.

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