KOLKATA: A fisherman was dragged away by a Royal Bengal Tiger in Sunderbans on Saturday. The big cat swam silently, jumped on a boat where Anil Mandal, the fisherman, was sitting, and dragged him away. The tiger disappeared in the dense mangrove forest on the banks of a creek where the group of three anchored their boat for fishing.
Another fisherman had a narrow escape in the same delta region after his accomplices fought an odd battle and drove away a tiger with a handful of mud that was splashed on its face and eyes. At least 18 people, fishermen and honey collectors, were killed in tiger attack in Sunderbans over a period of past one-and-a-half-year.
Anil, along with Kenaram Mandal and Haren Bayen, left their village in Pirkhali area for fishing. They anchored the boat in the creek in the same area in the Sajnekhali range of Sunderbans Tiger Reserve project zone.
Sunderbans, the world’s largest mangrove delta, is crisscrossed by rivers and narrow creeks, often not more than 15-20 feet, that contain a lot of fish and crabs.
The three did not notice the tiger hiding in the forest. ‘’Kenaram and Haren spotted the tiger when it jumped on the boat. By the time, it was too late. The animal attacked Anil, swam back to the bank and disappeared in the forest,’’ said a forest official.
On seeing the spine-chilling scene, the two other fishermen got scared and fell into the creek. They managed to board the boat again.
"They informed our range office in the area and our teams arrived at the spot. We could not conduct a search operation because of darkness," said the official, adding, "Fishermen often venture into the core areas of the tiger reserve project, a no-entry zone. Sometimes, we apprehend them before they could enter the no-entry zone".