Follow Us:

Forest officials blamed for failing to save tiger

Statesman News Service | Midnapore |

Forest department officials have been accused of failing to save the Royal Bengal Tiger from reportedly getting lynched by hunters in the forest of Lalgarh on Friday.

Locals living in Lalgarh area and wildlife activists alleged that the forest officials did several attempts to capture the big cat but those were not enough for catching a Royal Bengal Tiger.

“It’s their failure and now to cover up their incompetency, they have lodged a FIR against some unknown people with the Gurguripal police under sections of Wild Life Protection Acts,” said Pinak Bhattacherjee, a wildlife activist.

Meanwhile, the police and the forest department have independently initiated a probe into this matter. The National Tiger Conservation Authority also sought a report from the state.

NTCA member-secretary Debabrata Swain said: “We will find out the origin of the tiger by DNA sampling. This will help us establish the probable corridor it took to reach Lalgarh and secure the route.”

Chief wildlife warden Ravi Kant Sinha said the autopsy was done in presence of wildlife board members. “Tests were done on the wild boar carcass to find out whether it was laced with poison.”

Wildlife activist Rana Purohit said: “The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, doesn’t give any right to hunt or trap or extract body parts of wild animals. The culprits must be punished under the Wildlife Protection Act.”

Foresters said tribal hunters, mainly from the nearby Aajulsuli village who were celebrating the ongoing hunting festival, killed the tiger. Officials suspect Badal Hansda and Bablu Hansda, who came face-to-face with the tiger inside the forest when it was gorging on a wild boar and hurled the spear, wounding it fatally.

The two hunters, too, were injured. A post-mortem report revealed the animal was also hit several times on the head with a blunt object. As a result, its scull was broken. The viscera report is awaited.

The tiger’s carcass, which weighed around 220 kg, was brought to Garbeta’s Arabari forest where it was cremated in Hindu way of rituals. A procession was taken out in the village of Arabari forest area on Friday night and the big cat was consigned to flames.

The tiger, apparently fleeing from Simlipal forest, was found loitering in Junglemahal ~ once a Maoists citadel in Bengal. It travelled from Lalgarh to Jharkgram and then to Bankura.

The forest department had been trying to net the tiger for last two months laying all kind of traps. It installed a CCTV camera in the forest and even used camera-fitted drone at different parts of the forest to catch the tiger.

These had created immense fear in the minds of people, mostly adivasis, living inside the forests. Children could not go out to schools during day time. Many stopped entering the forests for work. The tiger’s roaming left them completely dismayed and confined into their thatched hut.

A few brave people, however, went deep into the forest to bring their daily items for business. Some of them saw the tiger and a couple of them were scratched by its paws.

That none was killed by the tiger despite they came-face-to-face each other pointed to the fact that the tiger was tired, and even lost strength to hunt and perhaps had an eyesight problem.