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1 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Villagers wary of tiger attacks near Bhola River

UNB
Villagers wary of tiger attacks near Bhola River

Bagerhat: The people living near the villages next to the Sundarbans have become fearful of tiger attacks due to the recent intrusion of the big cats into their localities, reports UNB.

Scattered in five villages on the banks of the Bhola River, thousands are wary of falling victims to tiger attacks, even in broad daylight.

In the past 10 years, 132 such incidents were reported where tigers enter human habitats from the east division of the Sundarbans, resulting in 184 human casualties and 9 tiger deaths, according to statistics from the district forest department.

The most recent incident was reported on January 23, where a tiger entered Gulisakhali village in Morrelganj upazila and injured six local people. The tiger was later beaten to death.

Locals alleged that the tigers easily enter their villages as the Bhola River has become waterless due to siltation.

They demanded the authorities concerned take strong measures so that tigers cannot enter human territories in the future.

Meanwhile, the Forest Division has been advising people through microphones to move carefully in the areas.

It was found after a visit to the area by the UNB correspondent that one side of the Bhola River is human-populated one, while the other side is part of the mangrove forest. The river had acted as a wall to protect the villagers from tigers who could not swim to the other shore.

But the river has lost its shield-like nature due to massive siltation. Various spots in the river have been found to be full of tiger footprints, including ones found in the nearby paddy fields.

The tigers are said to have passed through Baruikhali, south and middle Gulisakhali, almost 4km deep into the human habitats.

Abdullah Hawlader Emon, a grade-II student, is still shivering with fear after witnessing a tiger in front of him recently. Middle-aged Abdul Bari also spotted one going past his house. They are among the thousands of villagers who are prone to tiger attacks.

Emon, son of Imran Hawlader of Gulisakhali village, told UNB that he spotted a tiger in the early morning recently. His neighbour, Abdul Bari, also acknowledged sighting it across their family pond.

Jahangir Gazi, another witness, said he tried to fend it off upon spotting the tiger but was mauled with its paws in return. He barely made it out with his life.

Farida Begum, another resident, said neither she nor her children can step out of their house after dark, fearing another tiger attack.

Sarwar Hawlader said his son, Masum, was recently injured in a tiger attack. When five others came to free him, they were injured as well, but they managed to beat the tiger to death. They all blamed the sand-filling of the river as the major cause of tiger entering their villages. They alleged that the tigers come over often and take away their domestic animals as food.

Forest Department figures also show that tigers ate up 358 such domestic animals from 2008 till January 23, 2018. District forest officer of Sundarbans east division Md Mahmudul Hasan said the sand-filling of Bhola River, Aruar canal and Kharma canal have led to a 41-km span of riverbed being dried up, forcing tigers to leave their home range and search for food elsewhere, especially human habitats.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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