Tiger sleeps after lethal lunge
Issue Date: Monday , December 29 , 2008
Kultali/Calcutta, Dec. 28: A tranquilliser bullet in its body, a Sunderbans tiger pounced seven feet to land on a forest officer who had shot at it and the two plunged into a pond.
Swatting away Krishnapada Mondal, the 150kg animal hurried out of the water, darted into an adjacent hut and passed out.
The big cat had strayed into Kantamari village at Sankijahan, about 210km from Calcutta, early this morning.
Mondal, 58, a veteran of the Sunderbans, was thanking his survival instincts while recounting his two-minute tryst with the tiger. “I was trying to protect my neck and shoulder and move away from the animal all the while,” he said from his bed at SSKM Hospital.
He has been to “20 such assignments” before. “But never have I came so close to a tiger,” said the deputy ranger.
Clawed and slapped by the wounded giant, Mondal followed it to the residence of Sridhar Betal, where the tiger pa- ssed out because of the sedative. A team of 18 forest officials carried the animal away around 12.30pm.
Mondal got a call after the tiger injured Usharani Sardar, 12, who was on her way to a field with her sister-in-law to cut hay.
“The tiger was hiding behind a bush and it pounced on me and caught my thighs. I cried for help, but it held onto my thighs and clawed my hands,” she said at SSKM.
Her cousin Sudip, 25, dragged her out as the tiger loosened its jaws.
After sending Usha to the health centre, the villagers found the animal behind a banana grove. They surrounded the area with sticks and laid nylon nets so it could not es- cape. That is where the tiger stayed put until Mondal and his men arrived.
Hospital sources said both Mondal and Sardar had multiple injuries but their condition was stable.
Divisional forest officer Shubhendu Banerjee said the animal had apparently entered the village, after crossing a tributary of the Matla, in search of food. The tiger might be released after vets observe it for a day.