Tiger kills woman in Sunabeda sanctuary
Though forest officials were informed, they advised locals to wait till the morning and visited the village this morning.
NUAPADA: In what appears to be the first human kill in the region in recent times, a 65-year-old woman was allegedly preyed on by a Royal Bengal Tiger (RBT) in a village inside Sunabeda wildlife sanctuary on Sunday evening.
Body of the victim, identified as Sanmati Barik, was recovered by forest officials on Monday morning. She lived in Jalmadei village under Sesong gram panchayat within the sanctuary which also is a proposed tiger reserve and contiguous to Chhatisgarh’s Sitanadi Udanti tiger habitat.
Forest department sources said Sanmati had gone to fetch firewood from the adjoining forest when the big cat, apparently hiding behind the bushes, attacked her. Hearing her screams, villagers rushed to the 65-year-old’s rescue but the tiger dragged her and then disappeared into the forest.
Though forest officials were informed, they advised locals to wait till the morning and visited the village this morning. During search, they found Sanmati’s remains. Sources said, the left part of her body was found missing. From the injury marks, the forest officials presume it to be an RBT.
Tiger kills woman in Sunabeda forest
Contacted, PCCF Wildlife SK Popli said, “Only after direct evidence is gathered, it can be confirmed whether the woman was killed by a tiger. It could be any other wild animal as a leopard had been sighted with her cubs in the area sometimes back,” he said. The divisional forest officer has been asked to install camera traps to find out if a tiger is present in the area.
Immediately after the incident, ten per cent of the total ex gratia amount of ` 4 lakh was disbursed to the victim’s family. The rest will be released after probe. Forest range officer Shiba Prasad Khamari said the entire area was scouted after the incident.
“The pug marks and injury on the body of the deceased suggest it might be an RBT but we are yet to ascertain it,” he said. The victim’s body was sent for autopsy to Nuapada district headquarters hospital. Forest field staff were deployed to sensitise villagers against moving out of their houses in the evening. Official sources in forest department said though no tiger has been spotted by locals in the area in around last five years, at least eight tigers were enumerated in Sunabeda in the last census.