The cat and mice game of the Forest personnel to trap a full-grown tigress, which has purportedly taken shelter in the vicinity of Borobazar village near Rowta in Udalguri district five months back, has gathered a new pace.
The feline has till date continued to prowl around surrounding human habitation and devour several domestic animals, including cattle, dogs, goats and pigs ever since it strayed out of Orang National Park.
The State Forest Department personnel are taking a leaf out of the Sunderbans National Park in West Bengal to trap a Royal Bengal tigress, which has been on the loose and evaded after 12 attempts by the forest team to capture it.
Reportedly, like in the Sundarbans, forest personnel of Orang National Park, falling partly under Darrang, Sonitpur and Udalguri districts, will be fencing the area, where the full-grown tigress is taking shelter, with nylon nets in the ‘next couple of days’ to check it from straying into human habitat.
The tigress, last sighted on August 31 through camera traps, is taking shelter inside a Sissoo plantation set up under a social forestry scheme in 2006-07 near the Borobazar area at Rowta, in Udalguri district near the banks of river Dhansiri.
The decision to fence the Sissoo plantation with nylon nets was taken at a review meeting held in Mangaldoi on September 2, when the 12th and last attempt to tranquilise and capture the tigress was aborted after one of the accompanying veterinary doctors Dr Samsul Ali got injured.
The meeting followed a directive from Assam Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya, who was also present, to find a way to capture the tigress on the loose without harming it.
Senior forest department officials, including the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), and experts were also present in the meeting. Dhansiri, Divisional Forest Officer, Udalguri, Madhurya Kumar Sarma informed that nylon nets are traditionally used in the Sundarbans because tigers are scared of the nails in their claws getting entangled in the nets.
“We will start fencing the plantation and its adjoining area, in a radius of 5 km, in the next couple of days. We have arranged the nylon nets on our own and also engaged a trader from Palashbari to procure the same. About 50 people, including doctors, will be used to put up the fence on bamboo poles in a single day,” Sarma said.
“After encircling the plantation, we will build machangs to keep an eye on the tigress to tranquilise it. With time, we will keep pushing the net closer to where the tigress is. It is a very effective and safe method. We are very hopeful this time,” he added.
“Royal Bengal tigers are difficult to capture. We have been careful not to harm it in any way. Till now, the tigress has killed more than 44 livestock (cows and pigs). We have been giving the affected villagers the required compensation and the villagers have also largely co-operated in this regard not to harm the animal,” said another forest official.
Orang National Park, spread over 80 square km, has about 24 tigers and is about 6-7 km from where the tigress is taking shelter.