KAZIRANGA: Life virtually came to a standstill at a village near the Kaziranga National Park in Assam on Thursday after a full-grown Royal Bengal tiger had strayed out of the flooded UNESCO World Heritage Site and entered a human settlement.
The tiger had made its way into a scrap dealer’s shop at Harmuti, located beside National Highway-37. The site is adjacent to the park’s Bagori range.
The animal was apparently tired after battling the devastating flood which claimed the lives of several animals including rhinos in the past few days. It rested on the shop’s restroom bed for a few hours before making its way back into the park in the evening.
Rifiqul Islam, the shop owner, said he got alarmed on hearing screams of people at around 7 am. "When I heard people scream, I rushed out. I saw the tiger entering my shop from the front gate. It also saw me but didn't attack me," he said.
When news about the tiger’s appearance spread, forest officials rushed to the site and cordoned off the area. The forest officials did not make any attempt to tranquilise the animal as that could have been risky given its weakness.
In another incident, a wild boar, which strayed out of the park, had run into a restaurant and charged at the restaurant owner and his son. They escaped by jumping onto a table. In the wake of the flood, the tigers had first moved towards the hills across the highway in nearby Karbi Anglong district. Elephants and deer were the next to follow suit.