Frequent tiger intrusions in villages in Sundarbans
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Last Updated: Sunday, August 30, 2009, 11:30
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.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, August 30, 2009, 11:30

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