Even as the country looks for the likely release of the much-awaited tiger census on July 29, Global Tiger Day, an adult tigress was lynched on July 24 by villagers living in proximity to the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve in the Terai region of Uttar Pradesh, officials said on July 26.While the locals said the tigress attacked them when they were working in the fields, the forest department said the incident followed a youth trespassing into the animal’s “natural habitat” despite warnings to avoid contact.The assault on the tigress was also captured taken as a video in a mobile phone by a local of Matena village in Puranpur tehsil. He even provides a background commentary to justify the attack. He says it is retaliation for the tigress’ earlier attack on the youth.A total of nine persons were injured by the tigress in the entire episode, locals claimed, but Vaibhav Srivastava, District Magistrate, Pilibhit, said the figure appeared suspicious prima facie as the animal would not usually attack so many people at one go.The incident took place on Wednesday when one Guddu “suddenly went near the tigress without any reason,” following which the panic-stricken animal attacked him, said Naveen Khandelwal, Divisional Forest Officer, Pilibhit Tiger Reserve.The tigress was living safely in her “natural habitat” in Ghungchai compartment number 12 of the core zone of the tiger reserve, he said.When the youth raised a cry, villagers rushed to save him. Around 43 persons entered the jungle with lathis and ‘sujas’ (spears) and assaulted the tigress, leaving it seriously injured, said Mr. Khandelwal.Died “due to shock”The tigress died of its injuries on the intervening night of July 24 and 25. A post-mortem conducted by a three-member team of experts concluded that the tigress died “due to shock” as a result of blood haemorrhage, broken bones and numerous injuries with sharp and blunt objects.Villager Chandresh said the tigress attacked while they were in the field…in a populated area.” He accused the first officials of negligence and delay in reaching the spot of conflict.Another local told journalists that while working in the field a boy went to the edge of the field to defecate and that’s when the tiger attacked him. The other people working in the field rushed to rescue him but the tiger attacked them as well, he said.In the mobile phone clip of the beating of the tigress, dozens of locals can be seen wielding long sticks and mercilessly thrashing the animal, which lay on the ground helpless on its back and rolled about in pain.On one occasion, the tigress rolled back on to its belly, triggering panic among the villagers who retreated. However, the animal was too injured to strike back or chase them.The person who shot the video is heard complaining that no forest official had reached the spot to mitigate the situation.‘Forest officials attacked’Mr. Khandelwal, however, said the locals also attacked the forest officials monitoring the tigress and created obstacles in their work. Forest inspector Dinesh Giri and his team of security watchers tried to stop the attack on the tigress but had to escape from the spot after the villagers launched a “deadly attack” on them, said Mr. Khandelwal in his report.Mr. Srivastava said the animal could not be tranquillized as doing so would have led to its death given the injuries sustained by it.Legal action was being taken against the villagers who killed the tigress and an FIR had been lodged against several persons, said Mr. Srivastava.A magisterial probe has also been ordered to investigate the entire sequence of events.Around 98 cases of conflicts between humans and tigers, leading to human deaths and injuries have been recorded between 2000 to 2018 in and around the Dudhwa-Pilibhit Tiger landscape, as per the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), a leading nature conservation organisation that works with the State Wildlife Department.Since 2009, the WTI project team has rescued eight tigers from 36 human-tiger conflict situations, with four tigers successfully released back into the wild.Conflict casesA total of 136 humans have been attacked by tigers or leopards in 94 fringe villages of Dudhwa-Pilibhit forests in 151 reported conflict cases from 2000 to 2013, as per a 2018 report, ‘Living with the Wild—Mitigating Conflict between Humans and Big Cat Species in Uttar Pradesh,’ jointly undertaken by the WTI and the Forest Department.According to the report, attacks by tigers and leopards on humans and livestock marked a seasonal and geographical variation, with most attacks occurring during the day time, suggesting “that the larger proportion of tiger attacks on humans were accidental encounters.”Tiger attacks occurred largely inside forests or on their fringes (54.79%), while (31.5%) occurred in crop fields, primarily sugarcane. Only a small proportion of attacks (13.7%) were recorded to have occurred within houses or near homes.Tiger attacks were found to be higher in winter (42.5%), with the peak in February (19.2%), “which probably corresponds to a high influx of people collecting fuel-wood in forest areas,” followed by summers (39.7%).However, when it came to attacking livestock, the highest number of incidents involving leopards and tigers were reported during monsoons: 45-50%. Though full data is not available, official records from 2003 to 2012 reveal 474 livestock deaths across the Dudhwa-Pilibhit Tiger Reserve landscape, with tigers accounting for 58.6% of the deaths.The high number of attacks on livestock during monsoons “is in contrast to the seasonal patterns of attacks on humans by the two big cat species, and demands more detailed study to determine the underlying causality,” the WTI noted.Attacks by tigers were higher when people visited forests to collect firewood and other non-timber products (38.6%). A high percentage of tiger attacks (32.9%) also occurred when people worked in farms, and about 23.3% when people sat, moved, defecated or urinated in the village periphery or fringe forests.
USA’s Dana Vollmer took the limelight in the pool at the London Olympics on Sunday as she wiped out the world record in women’s 100 metres butterfly final to claim a gold medal. Vollmer touched home in 55.98, toppling the previous world mark of 56.06 seconds set by Swedish world champion Sarah Sjostrom at the 2009 World Championships, Xinhua reported.Chinese sensation Lu Ying came from behind to take a silver at 56.87. The bronze medal went to Australian Alicia Coutts who finished 56.94.Vollmer, winner of the event at the 2011 Shanghai World Championships, was sluggish off blocks with a second lowest reaction time. But she managed to usurp the lead soon after and never looked back to touch the wall first.It is the second gold medal US took in swimming pool, following the one won by Ryan Lochte in men’s 400 metres individual medley on the opening day on Saturday.”I’m so excited and on top of the world right now. I’ve never had an individual world record and now gold medal. Everything went as I could have wanted,” said Vollmer after the race.”I didn’t feel so good in the last 50(metres). My second(swimming) cap came off, I haven’t had that happen before,” said the 25-year-old, laughing a little.”I had kind of a bad finish and that was the thing I was focusing on. I was just trying to get my hand on the wall.”Lu, bronze medalist at Shanghai Worlds, had a second reaction time off the block and was the fourth at the turn. But she launched a burst in the second 50 metres and got over rivals to finish second.advertisement”The first 15 metres I didn’t swim badly. At the end of the race I swam with all my personal willingness,” said Lu after the race.She said her performance was down to hard training, adding she still had to work harder to catch up with Vollmer.Coutts, silver medalist in Shanghai, also came from the eighth place at the turn and managed a super-fast last 50 metres.”I have got mixed emotions about the race but I am really glad to have come away with a medal as I chucked in the water with 50(metres) to go. I think I could have come away with a silver,” she said.Coutts congratulated Vollmer on her success, saying “I know she goes out really fast but I tried to stay to my race plan and not get caught up in her race plan.”Lu was the fourth Chinese swimmer to take an Olympic medal in London, following a glorious Saturday night of teammates Sun Yang, Ye Shiwen and Li Xuanxu.Sun had an emphatic win over South Korea’s defending champion Park Tae Hwan in men’s 400 metres freestyle, making himself the first Chinese male swimmer to claim an Olympic gold medal.The 16-year-old Ye shattered the world record to claim a gold in the gruelling women’s 400 metres individual medley, and compatriot Li took a bronze.