The presence of a royal Bengal tiger at Gosaba’s Chargheri village in South 24-Parganas on Thursday night led forest department to install nets to save the human habitat from possible attacks by the big cat.
The new threat from a big cat comes close on the heels of a tiger giving sleepless nights to villagers and forest officials in the district’s Kultali area for over five days before it was finally trapped and released in the forests of the Sunderbans.
Foresters said they were trying to drive away the tiger towards the forest by making it cross the river but that could not be done till Saturday evening as there was a low tide. Officials said low tide meant the animal had to walk along the muddy land and the tigers usually avoided such a huge task.
“We have covered the village with a nylon net to create a barrier between the tiger and humans. Now we are trying to send it back to the reserve areas of the forest that is on the other side of the river. As there is low tide, the animal can’t move towards the muddy land. We are waiting for a high tide when the tiger can swim easily,” said Jones Justin, the deputy field director of Sunderbans Tiger Reserve (STR).
The foresters arranged crackers to drive away the animal and a large group of staff have been deployed on the bank of the river to ensure that the tiger moves towards the local Garal river.
Chargheri is situated on the bank of Garal river and opposite to Jhila forest, which is a tiger reserve. Villagers said they saw pugmarks on the riverbank on Thursday evening and officials of the Sajnekhali range of STR were informed. Forest department teams rushed to the place and installed fences from Thursday night.
Pugmarks of a tiger at Gosaba’s Chargheri village. Telegraph
On Friday morning, the villagers heard the roar of the animal and around 3pm the presence of the tiger was detected after a group of forest officials found it inside a bush.
Dhirendranath Mondal, a villager of Chargheri, said: “I heard the roar on Thursday night and it was scary. We can’t recall a tiger entering our village in recent memory.”
Officials said, in the face of frequent tiger attacks on humans, which have already claimed at least 30 lives in the past two years, forest officials have been forced to rethink on issues related to man-animal conflict in the southern part of the state.
“It is not the first time that tigers are entering human habitat. But we need to check if there is any reason behind such conflicts. Several people have been killed by animals in recent days and it is twice within a week that a big cat has moved into human habitat,” said a senior forest official.
Foresters said the winter season is mating time for tigers and during this period many tigers move towards human habitat as their territory gets disturbed.