Villagers, escorted by forest department officials, returned to the forest on Friday and recovered Buno Bhakta’s body, which was brought back to Patharpratima on Saturday morning and sent for post-mortem.
Buno was part of a five-member group that had gone into the Chulkati forest to look for crabs on Thursday. The tiger attacked when they were returning with their catch later in the day.
“It was getting dark when the tiger pounced on our group. It picked up Buno in a flash and disappeared into the forest. We could do little as we did not have weapons. We shouted and screamed, hoping to scare away the tiger, but Buno did not return to the boat. Finally, we left for our village,” said one of Buno’s friends.
The party reached Saptadaspur in Patharpratima on Friday morning and alerted forest officers.
A large group comprising villagers and foresters returned to the spot where the tiger had attacked. Buno’s body was found a few metres into the forest.
“It seems the tiger killed Buno, but left the body when his group of friends raised an alarm. It returned later to gorge on the flesh. The large party that returned to retrieve the body may have scared the tiger away the second time,” said a forest official.
Villagers said the youth normally pulled a rickshaw-van or worked in the fields to make a living. He entered the forest at times for some extra earnings.
Foresters said people like Buno enter the forest without permit and are not eligible for compensation. At least 50-60 persons fall prey to the Sunderbans tigers every year while trying to sneak into the forest, looking for firewood, honey, crabs or fish.
For The Tiger
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