Tiger shot dead by Nagaland villagers

Officials have hard time retrieving carcass

By Pullock Dutta in Jorhat
  • Published 2.03.16

Jorhat, March 1: A full-grown Royal Bengal tigress was shot dead at Medziphema village in Dimapur district of Nagaland yesterday and the villagers refused to part with the carcass saying it was a trophy for "bravery".

It took several hours for the authorities to convince the villagers to finally hand over the carcass of the endangered species.

This is probably the first incident of tiger killing in Nagaland in recent times.

"There is no record of presence of tigers in Nagaland and we believe that the animal may have come from Assam. Things would come to light only after details of the carcass are sent to the National Tiger Conservation Authority for confirmation," Satya Prakash Tripathi, chief wildlife warden of Nagaland, told The Telegraph today.

He said a biologist from the NTCA would be arriving in Nagaland and the carcass would be disposed of after necessary formalities. The post mortem was conducted and there were clear signs of gun-shot injury.

The incident unfolded in the morning after the tiger killed two pigs and a cow the previous night forcing the villagers to launch a drive to "chase away the animal". Armed with guns and spears, a mob went after the tiger which was taking shelter in a forest on the edge of the village.

Trapped, after the villager cordoned off the forest, the tiger tried to escape and attacked and wounded a youth in the process. Enraged villagers opened fire immediately killing it on the spot, another forest official not willing to be quoted, told The Telegraph.

The operation started around 10.30am and the tiger was killed about two hours later.

Medziphema village is located on the Dimapur-Kohima Road about 30km from Dimapur town, the commercial capital of Nagaland.

Forest department personnel rushed to the village after getting information and asked the villagers to hand over the carcass. The villagers refused to part with it stating that it was a "prized kill and a matter of pride".?

However, the forest personnel and district administration officials later managed to convince the village elders and the carcass was finally handed over to the forest department.

Tripathi said action would be taken against the guilty and a notice has been served to the village administration in this connection.

"Law would take its own course," he said.

The villagers, however, claimed that they were forced to kill the tiger in self-defence.

"The villagers told us that they tried to chase away the tiger but when it attacked the youth they were forced to open fire," a forest official said.

Royal Bengal tiger population in the country has increased from 1,706 in 2011 to 2,226 in 2014.

India's tiger population was 1,411 in 2008. Tiger census is carried out after a gap of every three years by the NTCA in the country.

Kaziranga National Park has the highest density and the third highest population of tigers in the country.

The tiger density in Kaziranga is 12.72 per 100 square km, followed by Jim Corbett National Park (11) in Uttarakhand and Bandipur National Park (10.28) in Karnataka, said a detailed report, Status of Tigers, Co-predators and Prey in India, brought out by the Wildlife Institute of India and the NTCA.