Annpur (Sundarbans): Three months after
Cyclone Aila struck Sundarbans wreaking havoc with the tiger
habitat in the mangroves, villagers in the area are living in
fear due to frequent intrusions by the big cats in residential
areas in search of prey.
"Two weeks ago, my wife saw a tiger when she entered
the kitchen after hearing sounds of utensils falling down. She
saw a tiger crouching on the floor," Pintu Mridha, a resident
of Jamespur village, said.
She ran out in panic with her child and climbed a tree
as villagers, alerted by her screams, chased away the tiger.
To drive away trigers, residents of Annpur, Jamespur,
Lahiripur, Rajat Jubilee villages have taken to bursting
firecrackers at night.
The forest department has also pitched in by
installing generators to illuminate embankments of rivers
bordering the Sundarbans Tiger Reserve after nightfall.
"After a tiger strayed in a village of Bali delta in
Gosaba on Friday and killed livestock, two trap cages were
put, night patrolling was arranged and nylon nets were erected
on the village side to stop the animal's entry," Field
Director, Sundarbans Tiger Reserve, Subrat Mukherjee said.
Such intrusions by the big cats in the homes of
villagers have become common in the Sunderbans after the May
25 Cyclone Aila which affected their habitat. In the past two
weeks, four tigers strayed into the villages in Gosaba delta
to prey on cows, goats and pigs.
"Villagers are living in panic and the roads are
deserted as evening sets in," Bikash Sasmal, convener of
Aila-affected People's Committee, said.
Field Director of Sundarban Tiger Reserve Subrat
Mukherjee said nylon net fences have been erected on
tiger-inhabited islands near human habitations of Sundarbans.
Tigers, he said, were afraid of nylon nets as their
claws get tangled in them.
"Sweet water ponds have also been dug in the jungle to
attract deer so that tigers can find prey," he said.
First Published: Sunday, August 30, 2009, 11:30