West Bengal: Tiger dead, officials suspect it was hunted

West Bengal: Tiger dead, officials suspect it was hunted

The carcass of the Royal Bengal tiger, that was first caught on camera inside the forests near the erstwhile Maoist belt of Bengal's Lalgarh region, was found on Friday, 42 days after it was first spotted on March 2. They suspect that the male tiger was hacked to death by the villagers, mostly being tribals, during their Shikaar Utsob (Hunting Festival).

The injured villagers, Babul ad Badal Hansda, were taken to Midnapore medical college and hospital. But I fail to understand what pleasure one gets by hunting. "I have asked for a report and will explore whether there was any negligence", said Bengal forest minister Benoy Krishna Burman. Cages were set up and drones were used to locate the tiger, but the way it was hunted is shameful. "The tiger died between 11.30am and noon".

Expressing her shock over the tiger's killing actor-turned Trinamool Congress MLA Debashree Roy, an animal activist, said, "It is a very sad incident".

People living in the surrounding areas were terrorised by the presence of the tiger. West Bengal Chief Wildlife Warden Ravi Kant Sinha said, "There were injury marks, caused by spears, in the tiger's neck".

Officials put up pickets at entry points to the forests this year in an attempt to desist villagers from going hunting. "Being unable to sensitise the local tribals was a failure. The body was left inside the jungle and they went back to the village". The forest department had deployed cameras and drones to keep a lookout.

The closest the forest department team came to capturing the animal was on March 30, when it was briefly trapped in a culvert in a West Midnapore forest. "The Forest department is doing a good work in the Sunderbans, but here, the tiger could not be saved".

Forest officials said they would file a complaint soon.

In the past few weeks the tiger eluded multiple traps the forest officials laid for it. "We will also try to identify the attackers and prosecute them on our own", said an official in Calcutta.

The tiger became a headache for the entire administration since thousands of villagers in the backward areas enter the forests in West Midnapore to collect firewood, kendu leaves and mahua flowers. Sinha added that the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) was informed of the development. "But there are hardly any sign of fight", said Raha. Read Also: West Bengal: Lalgarh tiger flees from the net, injures two locals; Speeding vehicle kills leopard in Kashmir The local eyewitnesses said thqt more than 100 tribal hunters from the local villages reportedly attacked the tiger today afternoon with native weapons like lance (spear-like weapon), bow and arrows.



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