MORIGAION, Nov 24 – Drawing flak from nature-lovers for its inept handling of the straying Royal Bengal tiger that was shot dead by police personnel at Goroimari in Morigaon district yesterday, the Forest Department today lodged an FIR against the police at Lahorighat police station over the killing of the animal.
Conservationists have also decried the role of the media – especially the news channels – that had constantly been portraying the tiger as a man-eater whereas the fact stands that the highly traumatized animal was actually provoked into attacking the persons by the presence of the excited crowd of onlookers. Some people were also seen pelting stones and sticks towards the panicked and angry animal.
KS Dekaraja, Range Officer, Morigaon Forest Range, said that the incident was unfortunate as the police indulged in indiscriminate firing on the tiger when forest officials were planning to tranquilize the traumatized animal. "The Forest Department has taken the matter seriously and is contemplating legal action," he said.
Several conservation and wildlife organizations of Morigaon including Pobitora Conservation Society and Green Guard have strongly condemned the killing of the tiger, as it was a highly endangered animal.
"It was clear that the tiger was highly traumatized by human action and provoked into attacking the excited crowd. By no means can it be called a man-eater, and it offered a lot of scope for capture through tranquilization. Unprofessional handling by the Forest Department and the police resulted in the animal's tragic death," an NGO activist said, adding that some onlookers also pelted stones and sticks at the panicked animal.
Pobitora Conservation Society also stated that it would move the court over the tiger's death.
The tiger had apparently strayed out of the Orang National Park on November 15 and had been taking shelter at Nagabandha Goroimari and later at Habi Barangabari for a week. Conservationists feel that there was enough scope for tranquilizing the animal and putting it back in the forest. Unfortunately, such options were not properly explored and the animal was gunned down by the police when it attacked the crowd of agitated onlookers last afternoon, killing a villager and injuring a police officer.