A Cyclone Yaas victim, a woman, who lost her home in Cyclone Yaas last Wednesday, was killed by a royal Bengal tiger in the Sajnakhali sanctuary of coastal Sunderbans in South 24-Parganas when she went to catch crabs early on Tuesday.
Police and local sources said Bhagawati Mondal, 38, was fatally mauled by the tiger when she was searching for crabs in a creek, her husband Atin waiting in a nearby boat.
Later in the day, Atin returned home in Chargheri-Lahiripara area of Gosaba with the body of his wife.
With this death, at least 23 villagers were killed by tigers in the Sunderbans in one year, a wildlife official said.
Sources in Gosaba said the couple and a neighbour went to catch crabs at creeks in the Jhila forest range on Monday. “The tiger attacked Bhagawati when she was searching for crabs close to the muddy bank of Golvoxa khal,” Atin said. “We tried to resist the animal but it mauled her on the neck and shoulder. By the time it left, my wife had bled to death,” Atin sobbed.
The incident with this Cyclone Yaas victim unleashed panic among fishermen and also created serious concern among state wildlife officials. Officials blamed villagers and shermen for “inviting deaths by entering deep jungles despite a ban against it”
There is a strong prohibition on entry inside the jungle. We have taken up an awareness drive among the fishermen and urged them not to risk their lives and to try for alternative sources of income like apiculture, but they do not pay heed to our appeal,” a senior official of the state wildlife department said.