A horrific video of a tigress being beaten to death in UP’s Pilbhit has triggered widespread outrage. The tigress was reportedly cordoned off by villagers and beaten with sticks and spears till it died. Ironically, the incident took place under a protected zone of the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve.
How It All Happened
The video in circulation has a running commentary by a witness who said they were assaulting the animal because she had attacked and injured a villager. However, in another report run by The New Indian Express, the tigress had injured nine people on Wednesday afternoon. Villagers also reportedly did not allow the tigress to be taken to a hospital. An FIR has been lodged against 31 identified and 12 unknown people. The autopsy conducted by a panel of three veterinarians said that the tigress died of injuries inflicted upon her by the villagers.
What The Authorities Say
Pilibhit Tiger Reserve Field Director H Rajamohan said that the tigress was about six years old and she died of broken ribs and injuries to her body. “She had sustained fractures and injuries from sharp-edged weapons like spears on almost every part of her body,” he told news agency IANS. An official statement from the forst department has contradicted the villagers account, saying the tigress had not strayed from her natural habitat. The villagers were warned multiple times not to engage with the tigress but on Wednesday, a man disregarded the advisory and went close to the tigress and was attacked. Srivastava has also ordered a magisterial inquiry to probe the role of forest officials in protecting the life of tigress.
Why Strict Action and Sensitisation Is Needed To Avoid Human Animal Conflict
The Pilibhit district and Pilibhit Tiger Reserve have witnessed deaths of as many as 16 tigers and 3 leopards within the jungle and its surroundings since 2012. Just a fortnight ago, a young leopard was found dead under mysterious circumstances in the buffer zone of Kanha Tiger Reserve in Mandla district. Sometime back, tigress and its two cubs were found dead in Brahmapuri division of Maharashtra, in what is believed to be a case of poisoning. These gruesome instances of human-animal conflict proves that there is an urgent need to sensitise people about animals and not to barge into their natural habitat. Also, the forest officials should be well-trained to deal with unexpected situations in case of human-animal conflict.
Speaking with IANS, Former field director of Dudhwa Tiger Reserve GC Misra said, “The tigress could have been rescued and given timely medical aid as the forest officials had reached the spot. But their inability to rescue the injured big cat in a span of over nine hours undoubtedly reflects their inability in protecting wildlife in adverse situations.”