Nothing seems to be going right at the Kaziranga National Park in Assam these days.
Guards at the park gunned down a male Royal Bengal tiger on Monday – while trying to tranquilise it – besides seriously injuring a specialist who had been sent to oversee the assignment.
And this came barely a week after two Independent legislators – both former cadres of the United Liberation Front of Assam and at present associate members of the ruling Congress – went on a rampage inside the park after being caught fishing illegally.
Forest ranger Dharanidhar Boro said the tiger attacked and devoured a man named Gaya Chauhan on March 18. It killed another man on Monday morning near Hapargaon village some 8 km from the western edge of Kaziranga. Then the park officials sent a team under veterinarian Prasanta Boro.
Dharanidhar told Hindustan Times, “Our men located the tiger around noon. But with so many villagers around, the attempt to tranquilise it went haywire. The tiger attacked our men, and they killed the tiger in self-defence. But in the melee the Prasanta Boro also got shot.”
Prasanta, who was later rushed to Guwahati for treatment, is with the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation.
This was the 10th tiger death in and around Kaziranga since January this year. While three each were poisoned by villagers and gored by wild buffaloes, three more died of natural causes.
Notably, Kaziranga, spread over Golaghat and Nagaon districts of Assam, is home to over 55 per cent of the world’s one-horned rhinos. Besides, the last census in 2000 had pegged the Park’s tiger population at 86, which meant 16.8 tiger per 100 sq km, arguably the healthiest in India.
However, senior wildlife officials in Guwahati said the 860 sq km Kaziranga was facing a problem of plenty, resulting in a drastic rise in man-animal conflicts.