Forest dept blames villagers for tiger menace

Forest dept blames villagers for tiger menace

Abhisek Roychowdhury

KOLKATA, Dec. 15: Frequent incidents of wild animals straying into villages located in the Sundarbans have left he village folk terror-stricken. In the past three months as many as five incidents of tigers straying into village space were reported in the newspapers. The incidents were also confirmed by forest officials.

Two men were snared by tigers in two separate incidents in the month of September. Both the incidents took place near Gosaba.

Such incidents indicate that the people of Kultali, Gosaba and Basanti are living under the constant threat of tiger attacks.

The forest department made some efforts to protect the villagers from these wild attacks. Villages vulnerable to tiger attacks were identified by the department officials and nylon rope fences were put up around these villages to prevent the tigers from straying into human territory.

But a visit to the Deulbari village of Kultali and Ambikanagar village of Gosaba brings to light how government funds were misused since the nylon ropes were found torn into pieces, indicating stronger ropes were required for the purpose.

Villagers were of the opinion that the nylon rope used for fencing were of inferior quality. The big cats could easily cut open these ropes with their fangs and make their way into the villages. The poachers were also suspected to have a hand in the condition of the fences.

When contacted, a forest department official told The Statesman that the villagers cut open the nylon fencing for domestic purposes. “We cannot put up barbed wire fencing because in that case if a tiger attempts to stray in, the animal would end up hurting itself. Such injuries can be fatal,” he said.

Mr Subrata Mukerjee, the field director of the Sunderbans tiger project held the villagers responsible for these wild attacks. Mr Mukherjee said security would be tightened very soon.

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