While the chilling winters of the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand has been the main attraction for the tourists all around the globe enthusing and encouraging tourists, thronging the upper reaches of the Himalayan belt – the incessantly emptying villages due to unrestricted, uninterrupted and intermittent migration and influx of the interior village populace of Uttarakhand towards the cities, towns and metropolises, particularly the villages of Pauri Garhwal districts are witnessing the increasing incidents of tiger attacks and subsequent terror let loose by these wild cats, not even within the control of the forest department officials of Uttarakhand.
As per the picture sent by the prominent Uttarakhand journalist, stationed at Pauri Garhwal, Jagmohan Dangi, the situation has become so awry and threatening due to the wild cat attacks that the local villagers are not finding it safe to live in villages, particularly during odd hours. Recently, in a DHAUDA VILLAGE under the jurisdiction of MANYARSIUN PATTI of Pauri Garhwal district a tiger cladestinely entered the cow shed and literally made six goats its prey, leaving four in half dead condition while grievously injuring them, due to apprehension of the tumultuous sounds of the local crowd who reached the vicinity after sometime.
It was the sheer good luck of the local residents that being indoors they were lucky enough not to fall themselves, prey to this predator. The tiger fled before the forest officials could reach the spot. Such incidents of tiger spotting and attacks have become the order of the day in Uttarakhand and lack of animal prey ( food) inside the jungles and increasing construction activities have led to these wild cats coming closer to human settlements, thus making human beings and the pet animals their direct and easy prey.
The lack of population in villages is also one of the reasons for the wild cats finding it easy to enter villages facing no confrontation or danger of human counter actions. Just a month or two ago a wild cat ( tiger) had entered a house in a busy locality of Dehradun and created havoc but left the premises before the forest staff could reach the vicinity. While tiger conservation is undoubtedly mandatory to protect the wild life, particularly in view of the vastly decreasing numbers of the tigers in Uttarakhand, its also the primary duty of the government of the state and the centre to safeguard the precious lives of human beings and the pet animals on whom the sustenance of the hill people solely rests.
Over 140 leopards and tigers have been declared maneaters in Uttarakhand in just 15 years, according to the state forest officials. There have been hundreds of cases of tiger attacks and killings in Uttarakhand with children and women being the easy prey of the wild cats in majority of the areas.
SUNIL NEGI, PRESIDENT, UTTARAKHAND JOURNALISTS FORUM