The tiger that had strayed into the forest of Lalgarh in West Midnapore district last month was killed by the locals on Friday, a top Forest department official said. The carcass of the adult tiger was recovered from the Lalgarh forest, West Bengal’s Chief Wildlife Warden Ravi Kant Sinha said. “The carcass has injury marks, caused by spears, in the neck,” he told PTI.
Asked when the big cat was killed, Sinha said it could be after 10 am today, because “till that time, the forest personnel were aware of its location”.
On why the tiger could not be captured over the last month-and-a-half, he said, “We had tried out best. We had put cages in different areas of the forest. We had sent tranquilising teams, but could not capture it.” Sinha added that the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) was informed of the development.
On whether a post-mortem would be conducted of the animal, he said that was the process in such cases.
The tiger had strayed into the forest of Lalgarh on March 2, possibly from neighbouring Odisha, a Forest department official had earlier said. R N Saha, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Midnapore range, had said one of the camera traps had captured the image of the big cat.
Reacting sharply to the news, Biswajit Roy Chowdhury, a wildlife expert and the secretary of an NGO, the Nature Environment and Wildlife Society, wondered why the animal could not be captured by the Forest department. “We had also failed to spread awareness among the people regarding protecting the tiger,” he said.
Joydip Kundu of the Society for Heritage and Ecological Researches said, “It is a black day for us. The tiger was brutally killed. The Forest department is doing a good work in the Sunderbans, but here, the tiger could not be saved.”
He was also critical of the “hunting festival” of the tribals of the area and said no one should support it in the name of tradition.
Former Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Atanu Raha said it was clear that the tiger’s life would be in danger if it was not captured. “Now it has happened. It is very sad for those who love nature, who love tigers,” he added.