Hunting festival by tribal people in village forest to be banned immediately.

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13th April 2018 is black day in Indian wild life history. 
In an unfortunate incident the Royal Bengal Tiger that had arguably strayed away from Odisha’s Simlipal National Park into West Midnapore’s Lalgarh and adjoining forests — once dominated by the Maoist guerillas — about 42 days ago was found dead deep inside the Baghghora forest range, locals said. The full grown beast that hardly killed a man despite constantly shuttling between the boondocks of Bankura and West Midnapore interspersed by numerous human habitations and largely thrived on wild boars, deer etc was speared and axed to death, forest staff said adding a postmortem would reveal whether the death was caused only due to sharp injuries or whether it was poisoned earlier.

The incident took place amid the month-long hunting festival of the local tribal population, sources said adding the tiger injured two villagers when a group of 70 entered the forests of Madhupur and Baghgora to hunt birds and animals.

The injured villagers, Babul ad Badal Hansda, were taken to Midnapore medical college and hospital.Sources said the locals speared it to death perhaps as a revenge for attack. Others said it could have been part of hunting festival. A half-eaten wild boar perhaps hunted the previous night was found in the vicinity the dead animal.

“It is well possible that the locals after sighting the half-eaten prey might have poisoned it. And when the tiger ate the remaining part of its hunt after a brief rest as the big cats do during the day time it fell to its death. After the tiger passed out it was speared and axed,” an expert said adding nothing would be clear before the autopsy report came.

The forest officials found deep piercing wounds on its shoulders and an eye which had literally been gouged out. Its legs were badly axed, sources said. ‘Shikar Utsav’ or hunting festival is an integral part of the tribal culture in the Jangalmahal region that covers the forest areas of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts and parts of adjoining Jharkhand.

During the festival, tribal youths enter forests with traditional weapons and hunt down birds and even small and medium-size game.

“It is a shame that the same people in the jangalmahal use smart phone and computer and kill animals in the name of ancestral ways. This must be stopped and they must be dissuaded from doing so,” said a wild life expert. Though the government has been trying to discourage the practice to save wildlife but hunting still takes place things are yet to look up.

The bigger irony was the sight of a hundred or more people clicking selfie with the dead tiger literally forcing the forest guards and the police to lift its carcass atop the vehicle on which it had to be ferried to Midnapore, sources said.

“Our team has rushed to the spot. I have asked for a report and will explore whether there was any negligence,” said Bengal forest minister Benoy Krishna Burman. The carcass was sent for post mortem examination.

Incidentally four persons had earlier been injured by the tiger when they chanced upon it. But it did not kill them and “must have done so in self defense before fleeing the area.” Locals however said the tiger was killed as its presence was harming economic activities. “We could not reach our children to schools, neither we could go to forests for kendu lives nor could we go to panchayat offices or return from wedding parties in the night.”

A confirmation of the tiger roaming the area was first received when it was trapped in spy cameras on March 31. “Since then the forest officials had been trying vainly to trap it even as the big cat kept covering two districts of Bankura and West Midnapore often negotiating human habitats but never killing a person.

The only persons perished were two forest officials who died of asphyxiation inside a forest van in which they had taken shelter during the night shutting fully the Windows of the vehicle out of fear.“It is a sad day for the wild life lovers that an endangered animal had to lose its life in hunting festivals by backward tribal class.Inspector General, Wild Life S Dasgupta said “investigations will have to be conducted as to why this unfortunate incident happened.”

it is an irony that the tiger was killed in a land from where it derives its name Royal Bengal Tiger.

We want proper justice in this cruel incidents. The accused persons should be arrested irrespective of political & religion matters and the forest range officers to be suspended. 

All illegal hunting in the forest to be treated as environmental crime and wild life hunting festival to be banned.