By Taniya Dutta
One of the only 80 remaining Royal Bengal Tigers was barbarically killed with spears by terrified tribal men after it strayed into their village and attacked a wild boar.
The near extinct adult tiger had been roaming the forests of Jangalmahal, Jhargram and Bankura in West Bengal in eastern in India for more than two months and several attempts by forest officials to capture the beast had failed.
On Friday morning, some tribal men who were out for cutting wood in the jungle were shocked to see a wild boar and the tiger involved in a fierce fight. Before they could even react and call others for help, the tiger had killed its prey and started devouring it.
Hundreds of villagers flocked into the forest after the news of the wild beast’s presence broke. The forest department was also informed but it took more than three hours to reach and rescue the tiger.
Enraged with the forest department’s delay to capture the animal and petrified with the wild cat’s presence in their village, more than 100 tribal hunters from the local villages reportedly decided to take on the 220kg weighing beast themselves with native weapons like lance, bow and arrows.
Two hunters- Badal Hansda, 16, and Babu Hansda, 35, came face-to-face with the tiger and attacked its face repeatedly with spears until it died. They too were injured in the incident.
An eyewitness Shambu Nath said:” We saw the giant tiger and a boar fighting in the middle of the jungle. The boar was big and must weighed 1.5 quintal but the tiger killed it and started eating its flesh.
“In the past, several attempts by forest department officials were made to capture the tiger that had been roaming around nearby villages for two months but they had failed. Once it was even trapped in the net but somehow it tore apart and ran away.
“We were all shocked and petrified to see the scene of the tiger eating the boar. We were worried if the tiger starts living in this jungle how will we work.”
When the forest officers reached, the tiger was found with a spear piercing its face and blood oozing out of its face, nose and ears.
Its carcass was brought to nearby Midnapore but, before that, foresters had to quell an agitation by villagers who demanded £ 318 to lift the animal and accused foresters of not doing enough to trap the tiger for over two months.
A post-mortem report revealed the animal was also hit several times on the head with a blunt object. The viscera report is awaited.
Ravi Kant Sinha,Chief Conservation of Forest said: “We could not catch it after all our efforts. The tiger died of spear injuries. We are following all standard protocols for the tiger-autopsy will be done. We are trying to track the people who have killed it.”
The incident has brought into light the failure of the forest officials to catch the tiger alive despite several attempts of laying down traps to installing drone cameras to track the movement of the tiger. The expert forest officials were also brought from the Sunderbans to catch the big cat.
The Royal Bengal tiger, which had kept on eluding Lalgarh villagers and forest officials for more than one and a halfmonth, was caught by two tribal hunters on March 30 but then the big cat fled again by tearing apart the net before the forest officialsarrived.