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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

Fisherman dragged away by tiger in West Bengal’s Sunderbans, second incident in eight days

A 51-year-old fisherman was taken away by a tiger in West Bengal’s Sunderbans in the second such incident in eight days. Gitangshu Das, a resident of Nehrupally of Jharkhali area, about 100 km to the south of Kolkata, went to catch fish and crabs when he was attacked by the big cat.

kolkata Updated:
Koushik Dutta
Koushik Dutta
Hindustan Times, Midnapore
Gitangshu Das was on a boat in a creek when the animal pounced on him and dragged him away inside the forest.
Gitangshu Das was on a boat in a creek when the animal pounced on him and dragged him away inside the forest.(Picture for representation)
         

A 51-year-old fisherman was taken away by a tiger in West Bengal’s Sunderbans on Friday evening in the second such incident in eight days. Gitangshu Das, a resident of Nehrupally of Jharkhali area, about 100 km to the south of Kolkata, went to catch fish and crabs when he was attacked by the big cat.

Das was on a boat in a creek when the animal pounced on him and dragged him away inside the forest.

“The incident happened in Suryamani Char area. After getting information that a fisherman was taken away by a tiger, we launched a search operation in the area, said Nilanjan Mallick, field director of Sunderban Tiger Reserve.

Das went to the forest on Tuesday along with three others. They, too, tried to trace their friend, but could not find him. Incidentally on January 31, Swapan Raptan (46), resident of Kumirmari village in the Sunderbans, was killed when a tiger attacked him on a boat.

In December 2018, another fisherman named Bishnupada Mandal (30) was killed by a big cat when he went to catch crabs. Mandal was attacked when he was sitting on a boat with two other fishermen. When his friends chased the animal with sticks, it fled leaving Mandal behind, but it was too late by then.

According to officials of the Sunderban Biosphere Reserve, at least 12 men were killed in tiger attacks in the area last year. Sunderbans, the world’s largest mangrove delta, 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 catch fish in these creeks often come under tiger attacks. While the animals attack fishermen who step on land, they also jump on the boats that are often within their range since the channels are narrow. On December 12, 2018, another fisherman Ganga Mondal, 53, was killed in Panchamukhani forest of the Sunderbans.

“We are helping villagers to take up apiculture so that they do not need to go deep in the forests. The forest department will also help villagers in breeding crabs. This will help reduce the number of human deaths due to tiger attacks,” RP Saini, director of Sunderban Biosphere Reserve said earlier.

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