The Forest Department arrested 14 fishers and their leaders (Majhi) in two cases over damage and theft of cameras installed to count tigers and other animals in the Sundarbans on Friday, reports UNB.
The arrestees are - Jahangir Hossain, Abdul Wahab, Abul Hossai, Md Mohibullah, Nurul Alam, Abdur Rahim, Amzad Hossai, Amzad Hossain, Asadul Islam, Yunus Ali, Munnaf Gazi, Ripon Hossain, Babar Ali and Akbar Hossain. They are from different areas of Shyamnagar and Koyra upazilas in Satkhira.
The department set up 376 cameras in a camera trapping group on trees to count tigers, deer and pigs in Satkhira range in January this year.
Of them, eight cameras were stolen from Noutabeki sanctuary under the Satkhira range.
Noticing the matter, the authorities suspended movement of fishers through two stations in the forest on 10 February.
Iqbal Hossain Chowdhury, an assistant forest conservator at Satkhira forest range, said they arrested 14 fishermen and their leaders in connection with the camera theft on 14 and 15 February.
The arrestees were sent to jail through a court after being shown as arrested in the cases, he said, adding that they lodged two separate cases in this regard.
“Those are involved with criminal activities in the forest removed the cameras,” he said, adding that all the accused will be brought under trial through identification.
On the other hand, arrested Ripon’s father Amir Hossain alleged that his son was accused in a different case for catching fishes in a protected sanctuary.
“Those are involved with hunting tigers and deer in the forest removed the cameras,” he claimed.
On 1 January this year, the Forest Department installed a total of 1,330 cameras at 665 spots in the Sundarbans to count tigers, deer and pigs.
The cameras were set up under the ‘Sundarbans Tiger Conservation Project’ involving Tk 32.7million