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Tigress on the prowl poisoned in Udalguri

A Royal Bengal tigress which had sparked panic in Udalguri district in lower Assam for the past few weeks was found poisoned on the bank of the Dhansiri this morning. The carcass has been sent for post-mortem.

By Our Correspondent in Kokrajhar
  • Published 3.01.16
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The carcass of the tigress. Picture by Preetam B. Choudhury

Kokrajhar, Jan. 2: A Royal Bengal tigress which had sparked panic in Udalguri district in lower Assam for the past few weeks was found poisoned on the bank of the Dhansiri this morning. The carcass has been sent for post-mortem.

Sources in the forest department said preliminary investigation had confirmed that it was poisoned. They said it must have consumed a poisoned carcass.

The tigress had sneaked out of Orang National Park with its two three-month old cubs a few weeks ago, spreading panic in the villages of Borobazar, nearly 12km from the sanctuary and under Mazbat forest range. Since then, the tigress killed four cows, five goats and five pigs.

Unable to find its way back to the national park because of the thick human habitation, the tigress was taking shelter in groves near villages in the Borobazar area. For the last two days, it was taking shelter near Dhopguri Anidol village. Its carcass was found near this village.

Officials of the forest department are now trying to rescue the cubs.

M.K. Sarma, the divisional forest officer of Dhansiri forest division under Udalguri, said regular patrolling had been undertaken over the past month for the safety of the villagers and the tigress. "It's unfortunate that the tigress died," he added.

The villagers said they had informed the forest officials about the tigress but little was done to trap it or drive it back into the forest. "It was only two days ago that the DFO, who recently took charge, visited the area," one of them said.

They also said they had informed officials of Orang National Park but they refused to take action, saying the area did not fall under them.

Wildlife lovers and environmentalists said the death of the tigress could have been avoided if the forest department had taken action timely.

Echoing them, Dipen Boro, vice-president of the All Bodo Students' Union state committee, said the tigress and her cubs could have been driven back to Orang had the forest department officials launched rescue operations on time.

"The animal died because of negligence by officials of the forest department and Orang National Park," a local youth said.

During the 2013 census, Orang (79.28 square km) had recorded the highest population of Royal Bengal tigers (24) and an exceptionally high density of the big cats (25.23 tigers per 100 square km), excluding cubs.