Watch: Fishermen hit tiger with sticks in Sundarbans river, 12 arrested

Officials claim that the tiger finally managed to escape safely from the attacks by the fishermen.

New Delhi: In a bid to protect the endangered species, authorities have arrested 12 West Bengal fishermen on Wednesday for attacking and torturing a tiger, who was was swimming across a river.

The action was taken after a video went viral. The video clip shot by fishermen from a fishing trawler shows the tiger swimming close to the vehicle as panic-stricken fishermen try pushing the animal away using bamboos.

The animal was swimming across the river towards Kendo islands in Sundarbans. Officials claim that the tiger finally managed to escape safely from the attacks by the fishermen.

The video was reportedly recorded near the Kendo Island, about a kilometer away from Bangladesh coastline inside the Sundarban Tiger Reserve. The trawler was on its way back to Raidighi when the fishermen spotted the tiger and began screaming “maar, maar (beat, beat)”, as they moved towards the animal.

On the basis of the video clip, officials identified the boat and the group of fishermen. So far, 12 fishermen have been arrested for attacking the tiger.

Field Director of the Sundarban Tiger Reserve Nilanjan Mallick told a news agency that according to reports received, the tiger was swimming towards Kendo islands on the western fringes of the Sundarbans when it was hit with bamboo poles by fishermen.

“We will take action under Wildlife Protection Act against those found involved in the incident. We are empowered to take such action,” Mallick said.

The Forest Department is taking measures as per provisions laid down to prevent man-animal conflict in the Sundarbans and protect the tiger population in the forest reserve.

A senior official of the tiger reserve said that it shows a lack of awareness among locals. It is not a common trend in Sundarban. But if it has happened, we will take legal action and FIR is being lodged against the perpetrators.

The local population in Sundarban is known for their cooperation. It is because of their support that tiger conservation in Sundarban has been a success. But such act of nuisance by a bunch of people have given a bad name to the entire fishing community in Sundarban, the official added.

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