Four bison died after being chased by villagers and forest officials at Banerhat, Dooars, on Sunday morning. The four were part of a herd of five bison that had strayed out of a forest early in the day.
While two of the bison died of cardiac arrest after foresters fired tranquillizers at them, the third one succumbed to hemorrhage after falling into a drain and breaking one of its legs. Another bison was hacked by locals, but forest officials said this did not cause its death. According to them, this bison, too, died of the injuries it suffered after getting stuck in a drain.
The incident occurred at Karbala Tea Estate in Banerhat, Jalpaiguri district. Five bison, including four males, strayed out of the Diana or Reti forest under Banerhat police station in the wee hours of Sunday. Some locals spotted the herd in the tea estate, located hardly a kilometer from the forest, and started chasing the bison.
Trying to flee, one of the bison fell into a drain and got stuck. Sources said locals attacked the animal with sharp weapons and hacked it. Then, some people from the mob took away some flesh from the carcass. Its tail was also torn apart. Not much would have been left of the carcass had it not been for the forest department’s intervention, the sources added.
However, forest officials denied that the cause of death was hacking. “The animal was indeed hacked, but only after it died on falling into a drain. We have lodged a complaint at Banerhat police station,” said Sumita Ghatak, DFO, WL-II, Jalpaiguri division.
Forest and wildlife squad workers fired tranquillizer darts at two of the bison in a bid to prevent casualties. But both the animals succumbed to the doze, as it often happens with the species after being administered sedative.
Even as the foresters were busy tranquillizing the two animals, locals spotted another bison — which had strayed — and chased it. This bison, too, fell into a drain and got stuck. Foresters rescued the animal and sent it to Gorumara National Park for treatment. But the bison did not make it, dying on its way.
The fifth bison was driven back into the nearby Totapara forest after it took shelter in Gandrapara Tea Estate, located beside the Karbala garden.
“We had no option but to tranquillize the animals. There were two weekly markets in the area and had the bisons gone there, there could have been human casualties. We had to prevent it at any cost,” said Ghatak.
Courtesy : TOI