Tragedy struck in the state of West Bengal on Friday when a woman was attacked by a tiger who dragged her into an Indian forest while her husband looked on in horror. The woman was dragged into the Sunderbans, an enormous mangrove forest where the Ganges River meets the Bay of Bengal.
The couple were fishing for crabs in a shallow river when the tiger struck. A search by forest guards through the area proved fruitless and there has been no sign of the woman since.
This attack will most likely re-ignite the debate on tigers’ shrinking habit in West Bengal. Tigers have come under increased pressure in recent times and this has led to increased aggression. The latest attack is the sixth in 2014. A father was attacked in front of his children in June when a tiger dragged him off his boat and into the swamp.
A calm response will be sought by animal rights activists who will point out that human interference in the area means that India’s tiger population have no option but to move further afield to find food, attacking humans in the process. They are also under increased risk from poachers worldwide. But those arguments will provide scant comfort for this poor woman’s family, particularly her husband and the driver of their boat, who witnessed the attack but were powerless to stop it.