Royal Bengal tiger strays in Bihar, stokes panic among villagers
The tiger strayed 130 km from Valmiki Tiger Reserve in villages of East Champaran district, Bihar
A Royal Bengal tiger strayed from the Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) 130 kilometres into the villages of East Champaran district of Bihar, sending state forest department officials into a tizzy.
A 60-member team of forest department officials and experts armed with tranquilizer guns and cage vans has been on toes since June 15, 2021, conducting searches to catch the tiger. it has purportedly been roaming around densely populated villages in search of food.
VTR director Hem Kant Roy said the tiger may have strayed from Manguraha range four-five days ago after a possible territorial fight between old and new tigers.
“We have alerted the villagers about the straying tiger and asked them not to disturb it since it has been hungry for four-five days and may harm them,” Roy said June 17.
The tiger has not harmed any villagers on its way so far but its movements have caused panic among the local villagers who have stopped going to the fields.
“We are constantly following the tiger on the basis of its pug marks, but have failed to catch it. Currently, it is hiding near Chiraiya village under Dhaka block in the district,” divisional forest officer Motihari, Prabhakar Jha, told Down to Earth.
Forest officials said the tiger was first sighted by local villagers in a mango orchard in Pakaridayal block of East Champaran. By the time the officials reached there, it had walked inside busy tracks and maize fields.
In February 2021, a wounded tigress had strayed from VTR and died a week after being caught by the forest team. The tigress was unable to hunt for animals in the tiger reserve areas since it had grown old and would frequently come out of the reserve to prey.
The VTR which is spread over 899 square kilometres near the Indo-Nepal border in the West Champaran district has been ranked the fifth best tiger reserve in India. According to VTR officials, the number of tigers has now gone up to 37 now from only eight in 2010.
The VTR is also home to other animals such as sloth bear, leopard, Indian bison, hyena, wild dogs, several species of deer and antelopes, leopard cat, wild cat, fishing cat, wild boar, flying fox, serow, civets and flying squirrels.
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