Fisherman dragged away by tiger in Sundarbans
Barely three weeks after two women were killed in tiger attacks in the Sundarbans in Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district, a fisherman was dragged away by a big cat on Monday afternoon.
Arjun Mandal,45, resident of Rajatjubili of Gosaba area, about 87 km to the south of Kolkata, was dragged away from a boat where he was preparing to cook lunch, said forest officials.
Since December 2018, Mandal became 12th person to be killed by tiger attacks in the Sundarbans, home of the Royal Bengal tiger.
Incidentally, the number of tigers has gone up in the Sundarbans from 76 in 2014 to 88 in 2019, according to a report released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.
Divisional Forest Officer G R Santosha said a search is on but no body has been recovered so far.
According to locals and forest officials, Mandal went to Pirakhali that is a part of the core forest area on Friday (July 26) to catch fish. He was accompanied by two villagers Dhruba Mandal and Paritosh Mridha.
When the tiger jumped from the bank of a canal on to the boat and pounced on Mandal, Dhruba and Paritosh tried to save him but failed. They returned to inform forest officials at the Sajnekhali Range Office about the incident.
Santosha said all the three persons had permission to enter the core area of the forest for fishing.
On July 8, 50-year-old Banatala Tarafdar was killed by a tiger in Pirkhali forest when she went to catch crabs. Just a day later, the body of Ammajan Bibi (38) was recovered from Banchapri forest in Kultali area, about 91 km to the south of Kolkata.
The Sundarbans is crisscrossed by rivers and narrow creeks -- often not more than 15-20 feet wide -- that contain a lot of fish and crabs. Those who go to catch fish in these creeks often come under predatory attacks.
Many villagers, who go to catch fish in the core areas, don’t have permits to enter these areas. While tigers sometimes attack fishermen who step on the land, the animals also jump on the boats that are often within their range since the channels are narrow.
Most people in the Sundarbans are poor and they depend on the forest for a variety of purposes -- catch fish, crabs, collect honey and firewood.