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Tiger Fleeing Assam's Flooded Kaziranga Makes a Pit Stop at Scrap Shop, Curls Up in Bed to 'Relax'

Wildlife officials are trying to give a safe passage to the visibly tired tiger so that it can return to the park or move towards the highland.

Karishma Hasnat | CNN-News18

Updated:July 20, 2019, 11:32 PM IST
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Tiger Fleeing Assam's Flooded Kaziranga Makes a Pit Stop at Scrap Shop, Curls Up in Bed to 'Relax'
The tiger is seen resting on a bed in a shop near Bagori range of Kaziranga.

Guwahati: “A tiger’s life is as important as human life,” said Motilal, a scrap dealer who hosted a Royal Bengal tiger in his shop in Bagori range of Kaziranga in Assam. Motilal was sitting in his shop on Thursday morning when he heard people shout “Tiger, Tiger!”. As soon as Motilal stepped outside, he saw the tiger approaching his shop, from a distance of about 20 feet.

“It looked at me and did nothing... It just silently made its way into the shop and went and sat on the bed inside the room,” narrated Motilal. “I ran for my life when I spotted it. The tiger was panting and was visibly tired,” he added.

The tiger is believed to have strayed out of the Kaziranga National Park to move to the higher reaches of Karbi hills through National Highway 37 as the annual flood in Assam has inundated more than 90% of Kaziranga National Park.

Finding no other place, it took shelter at the shop in Harmoti, near Bagori range of the park in Nagaon district. After a 10-hour wait, the animal was given safe passage.

Motilal called the Forest Department helpline number to report the incident. A team of officials led by Divisional Forest Officer Rohini Ballav Saikia reached the spot and immediately cordoned off the area. The crowd that had gathered around the place was chased away by forest guards.

A rescue team from Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) also reached the spot. “The tiger crossed the road because it wanted to go to the highland as there is water inside the park. Because there are a lot of people here, and vehicles are moving in the road, it took shelter inside a shop and is sitting on a bed there. It is tired,” explained Dr Samshul Ali, wildlife vet who’s part of the CWRC team.

He added that the rescue team were faced with two options. “Plan A - we will try to give a safe passage to the animal so that it can return to the park, or move towards the highland,” he said. If that fails to happen, the animal will have to be tranquilised, he said.

As the report was being filed, the tiger took rest on a bed in the shop. All the while, foresters stood guard outside the shop and warned villagers against coming any closer.

“If people stay, it will be a panic situation - they must understand that the area has been cordoned off, and they have to leave the tiger alone so that no casualty occurs,” explained Dr Ali who has led many a rescue of big cats in Kaziranga before.

For Motilal, it was an unforgettable experience. “I want no harm to the animal. The forest guards are doing their best. I have also asked people not to panic. The tiger meant no harm,” he said.

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