Forest department’s indifference and inaction and aggressive attitude of the villagers of Dherua, Bagghara caused the death of the Royal Bengal Tiger at Bagghara jungle, Lalgar on 13 April, Friday. Whereas lakhs of rupees being spent on the conservation of the big cats, some unruly and unconscious people are mercilessly killing them and showing their heroism in violation of the wild life protection acts. The forest department didn’t take any initiative for the long 45 days to campaign around Lalgar to save the tiger. Had they made their best effort to capture the tiger, they could have been successful. Had they appealed to people to save it, the tiger couldn’t have faced its tragic end.
Last year in Raiganj, Uttar Dinajpur (W.B.) an adult leopard somehow strayed into a locality of Raiganj Town. As people know us for working with the wilds and for their welfare, they informed us immediately with an appeal to do something. Though we had not any training to capture such wild animals, we, a team of 12 members, rushed to the spot just to prevent people killing the leopard, continuously making an appeal not to follow it. All of us put on helmets and took nylon nets just to show that we were trying to capture the leopard.In the locality thousands of people were following the leopard that was playing hide and seek with all. It was when someone threw a big piece of stone at the leopard, it attacked a curious onlooker named Khokan Sarkar, compelling our members to pounce on the leopard to save the man. One of our members also succeeded to put helmet on the leopard’s head but it cracked the helmet in seconds by opening its jaw. However, after 32 seconds scuffle with our 9 members, the leopard just jerked its body and everyone who held it on its back flew off in various direction. The leopard now entered an empty room and one labour named Jamuna Pacman locked the door from outside by his great presence of mind. The leopard was tranquilized after six hours by the experts who had come all the way from Shukna Forest Department that is about 200 km from Raiganj. Our nine injured members were hospitalized.
Our effort to save the leopard has always been criticized by the forest department. It’s a matter of shame that instead of encouraging our sincere efforts to save the leopard the D F O of Raiganj Social Forestry Division mocks us for this. We think that arrangements should be made to create awareness among our Adibasi brothers to make them understand that they should cry a halt to their wild animal hunting spirit, that they too are now the parts of the main stream of our society.