Royal Bengal tigress was shot dead at Medziphema village in Nagaland’s Dimapur district and the villagers refused to give away the carcass saying the killing was related to bravery and prestige of the village.
The Royal Bengal tiger was only in the realm of Nagaland’s folk tales till the tigress was spotted in Medziphema, 30 km from Nagaland’s commercial hub Dimapur last week. The local youth did not let it “get away with raiding livestock” and hunted it down on Monday.
Forest officials in Nagaland said the tigress could have strayed into the state from Assam’s Kaziranga National Park, a tad more than 100 km to the south. According to the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the state had no record of the presence of the Royal Bengal tiger.
“It possibly strayed from jungles in Assam,” NCTA member Kamal Azad said.
Soon after the tigress attacked livestock, some 70 youth – most of them armed with 12-bore guns – began chasing it into a nearby jungle.
“During the chase, the tigress pounced on one of the men and injured him grievously. The others then fired at the animal, killing it on the spot,” an officer said.
The locals, however, said they only wanted to scare the animal away and not kill it.
Forest officials and the police went to the site to retrieve the tigress’ carcass but locals refused to part with it citing customary belief of bravery and prestige of the village attached to the feat.
They relented hours later after senior officials of the district administration intervened and told them about the legal implications of hunting the endangered animal.
“We are awaiting the autopsy reported that was conducted today (Tuesday),” Nagaland’s chief wildlife warden, Satyaprakash Tripathy, said.
NCTA is sending a team to Nagaland to study the autopsy report and talk to the villagers.