Arunachal tribals turn into beasts to feast
Sanat K Chakraborty Guwahati
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Shoot tiger, remove skin and devour its meat in community meal
An adult Royal Bengal Tiger was hunted down in a remote tribal village in West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh and his killers skinned it to devour his meat.
The death of the majestic Bengal tiger weighing about 100 kg came to light following a report in a local daily of the State on Monday. “Frankly speaking, we also came to know about this tragic incident only through a local media report,” said a State wildlife official, who didn’t wish to be named.
He said the district administration, police and forest department (wildlife) officials are trying to investigate the incident.
The report quoted one Tapak Kato, an eyewitness to this incident, as saying that villagers of Numuk tribal hamlet spotted the ill-fated tiger while they were on a community hunting spree in the forest.
They encircled the tiger and shot it with poisonous arrows and hunting guns, inflicting grave injuries. The tiger succumbed to its wounds soon. Thereafter, the villagers skinned the tiger and devoured its meat in a community feast.
According to the report, the villagers sold the skin of the tiger to a trader based in Assam for Rs 1.5 lakh.
“We are trying to ascertain the veracity of this deal,” the wildlife officials told The Pioneer over telephone from Itanagar.
Northeastern frontier States, especially Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland bordering Tibetan China and Burma, are vulnerable to international trafficking in wildlife. Assam and Arunachal Pradesh host some of the best tiger reserves in the country.
Every now and then incidents of poaching on rhino, elephant and tiger, as well as the existence and operation of a well-knit and connected wildlife trafficker network, are reported in the media in the region.
“It’s so tragic,” said Rajesh Gopal, member secretary of National Tiger Task Force Authority, while responding to a website report. “I am aware that the mafia is still active in the northeastern States and other border areas where smuggling of animal parts is rampant.”