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A growing number of seizure of wild animals and birds over the last five years shows that poachers and smugglers are using Bangladesh as a route for wildlife trafficking.
The Department of Forest (DoF) and law enforcement agencies recovered 21,506 live wild birds and animals, including tiger and bear cubs, during the period.
A variety of animal body parts — from tiger skins and bones to tusks of African elephants — are also on the seizure list.
“Bangladesh is indeed being used as a route for wildlife trafficking,” Madinul Ahsan, assistant conservator of forest at Wildlife Crime Control Unit (WCCU), told The Daily Star yesterday.
According to wildlife officials, traffickers are active in smuggling out tiger skins and bones through Bangladesh, as those have huge demands on the global market, especially in China.
Some of the seized wild animals and birds were meant for local trade, while the others were for trafficking to different countries, mainly in Southeast Asia.
Wildlife traffickers are illegally bringing wild birds and animals mainly from India to smuggle those out via Shahjalal International Airport in the capital, the officials said.
Smugglers prefer Shahjalal airport because of lax monitoring, and the fact that they can bribe a section of corrupt officials to allow them to run the illegal trade, they added.