Tigress strays into Uttar Pradesh village in Pilibhit as spectacle draws thousands under the shadow of man-animal conflict  

Both panic and excitement gripped Athkona village in Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit district when a tigress, supposedly injured, strayed into the human habitation and perched on a wall, quite peacefully though, till the forest officials captured it on Tuesday (December 26) amid thousands of onlookers.

Tigress, resting atop Gurudwara wall in UP’s Pilibhit, captivates onlookers with unusual sight. Photo courtesy: Video grab

According to media reports, the tigress ventured out of Pilibhit Tiger Reserve Forest and entered the village, located 20 km away, around 2 am. It made its way to a Gurudwara compound wall and perched on it.

The forest officials reached the village at 5 am after being informed about the incident.

They covered the area around the wall with nets and initiated efforts to capture the big cat as countless people gathered to watch the spectacle.

As the news of the tigress spread, people from the nearby areas began to gather to see the unusual visitor to the village.  

Videos taken by onlookers which went viral show people standing just a few metres away from the big cat. People stood in clusters on roofs and other spots to look at the majestic animal.

The tigress, which was reportedly two to three years old, was injured, said reports.

Nearly 10 hours later, the tigress was successfully rescued by the forest department official.

Pilibhit Tiger Reserve’s veterinarian Daksh Gangwar is examining her condition, according to a Times of India report.

The Pilibhit Tiger Reserve is spread across the Pilibhit and Shahjahanpur districts of Uttar Pradesh, forming part of the Terai Arc Landscape, in the upper Gangetic Plain Biogeographic Province along the Indo-Nepal border. The habitat is characterized by Saal Forests, tall grasslands and swamp maintained by periodic flooding from rivers. It is one of India’s 51 Project Tiger reserves.

As tiger population rises in the region like many other parts of India, the human-animal conflict intensifies often causing woes to the farmers in whose lands the animals stray into.

Earlier this year, India announced that its wild tiger population has increased to 3,167 from just 1,400 in 2006. However, according to the environmental magazine Down To Earth report, almost 30 per cent of the tigers roam outside the protected areas and regularly enter human habitations owing to shrinking tiger corridors from developmental activities.

The report said tigers are believed to be leaving forests in pursuit of herbivores that are increasingly foraying into human-dominated landscapes since the natural flora on which they survive is overtaken by invasive species such as lantana, a plant introduced to India by the British.

According to conservation news platform Mongabay-India, a study in 2020 found Lantana camara, a tropical American shrub, has invaded more than 40 percent of India’s tiger range. The Shivalik hills, Central India, and Southern Western Ghats are the worst hit.