A tiger killed a cowherd (charwaha) in the buffer zone of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in Umaria district on Saturday. The enraged villagers blocked the road in the area for over an hour demanding Rs 10 lakh compensation for kin of the victim.
Field director Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve CH Murlikrishnan told HT over phone that one Sonelal Rai, who lived in Dhamohkhar village of the buffer zone, was grazing his cattle, along with two other villagers when a tiger pounced on him and mauled him.
“The other two villagers fled from the spot and informed forest officials posted nearby. The area where the attack took place is generally frequented by Mahaman tiger couple; they are mating these days and a blue eyed 11-year-old male tiger. One of the three tigers has attacked this cowherd. Generally two to three villagers go for grazing cattle in the forest area on a rotation basis”, he said.
Bandhavgarh-based tiger enthusiast Pushpendra Diwedi, who saw the body of the victim, told HT over phone that the middle aged victim had been bitten in the neck by the tiger, but he had not been eaten.
Diwedi said that later agitated villagers blocked a road in the area for over an hour. He said the police reached the spot and pacified the crowd with the promise that compensation would be provided to the kin of the victim soon and they would talk to the senior officials regarding their demands.
When questioned about the protest by the villagers, CH Murlikrishnan said that the villagers blocked the road as they wanted Rs 10 lakh compensation and a job to kin of the victim. “But according to norms we can provide a compensation of Rs 1.5 lakh to the family of victim within three days. And we will do that.”, he said.
Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, which has one of the highest tiger concentrations in the country, has witnessed increasing incidents of man-animal conflict in last few years, with both man and tiger getting killed.
Over 10 people have been killed by tigers in Bandhavgarh in last 7 years. Last year in October, two young tigers involved in killing four people over a period of seven months, were captured by forest officials in Khitoli range of Bandhavgarh.
Even that time the agitated villagers had protest the killing of a teacher by one of the young tigers and even attacked a forest post in Khitoli village of the Tiger Reserve.
Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve is located between the Vindhyan and Satpura ranges in north eastern part of Madhya Pradesh. According to wildlife officials, its dense forests interspersed with grasslands and streams provide an ideal habitat for the tigers.