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Last Updated: Wednesday January 28 2009 16:33 GMT

Dog defence plan to stop tigers

A Bengal tiger in a zoo in Colombia

Tiger experts in Bangladesh have got a tough job as they have to try to keep the big beasts safe and help protect people tigers are attacking for food.

Tigers don't normally tuck into humans, but in certain areas some have begun to get a taste for people.

But because tigers are dying out killing them isn't an option, so another solution is needed.

The experts have come up with a unusual plan - training stray dogs to sniff out the tigers and then scare them off.

Ore talks to tiger expert at London zoo

Ore talks to a tiger expert

And even if the dogs don't scare the tigers away, they may know the big cats are coming before the the villagers do, giving them time to get to safety.

It's important that the idea works, as otherwise the desperate villagers may kill the tigers to stop them.

At one village called Chandpai a particular tiger is causing big problems as it seems to have learnt that people and farm animals are easy to kill for food.

GLOBAL TIGER SPECIES
Amur or Siberian tiger - lives in the Russian Far East, China and North Korea - Around 500 left in the world
Bengal tiger - lives in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, China and Nepal - Around 2,000 still alive
Indochinese tiger - lives in Cambodia, China, Lao, PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam - around 1,500 left
Malayan tiger- lives in Thailand and Malaysia - 500 left alive
South China tiger - none has been seen alive in 25 years - thought to be extinct
Sumatran tiger - lives on Indonesian island of Sumatra - Fewer than 500 still alive
Three other species - Bali, Caspian and Javan - became extinct in the 20th Century

If the dog defence plan doesn't work the villagers may hunt the tiger themselves.

Recently thousands of villagers ganged up to kill a tiger because they were angry and frightened, but it turned out not to be a man-eater.

The village is in a part of Bangladesh called the Sundarbans forest. It's thought around 400 Bengal tigers live there.

Risk of attack

People in Bangladesh have to go into the forest to get food to eat and to gather wood and honey to sell. They know the tigers are there, but have no choice but to go into the forest anyway.

As many as 50 people are killed in some years in the area, and some of the tigers are getting bolder and heading into villages to search for food.

To find out more about this story watch Man-eating Tigers of the Sundarbans at 8pm on Friday 30 January on BBC2.