The courage, determination and presence of mind a 30-year-old tribal man in Umaria district, 516 km east of Bhopal, not only saved him but also his wife and brother after they were attacked by a tigress in Bandhavgarh tiger reserve while they were on their way home on a bike, said a forest official on Wednesday.
Ram Milan Baiga, a resident of Garhpuri village which is located in core area of Bandhavgarh reserve, was returning to his village on Monday evening on a bike with his wife Meera Baiga, 25 and brother Shyam Baiga, 28, when a tigress attacked them in Khitauli range of the reserve, said NP Kartikeya, a range officer.
The forest officer confirmed that pug marks of a tigress found on the spot after the incident.
“All three fell on the ground after the tigress attacked but instead of running away, Ram Milan stood there, asked wife and brother not to run away and started making noises as taught by his elders in his childhood on how to shoo away wild animals. They continued to stand there and kept making noises for about 15 minutes to drive away the tigress. Later deputy range officer Gajraj Singh reached there and took them to the outpost,” said Kartikeya.
Ram Milan and Meera suffered injuries on their hands and legs and were admitted to the district hospital where their condition is stable, the official said.
Kartikeya said, “If these three had tried to run away this could have been dangerous for all of them but Ram Milan’s courage, presence of mind and strategy worked perfectly for all of them.”
Ram Milan said, “I had seen my elders making noises loudly to shoo the wild animals away while taking the cattle in the forest areas for grazing. Despite living in a village, that too in the core area of tiger reserve, I had never had such an encounter with any wild animal so far. This was quite a different experience on Monday and scary moments for us that I would never be able to forget.”
He said he was initially stunned when the tigress attacked before he remembered the survival trick.
“I saw the tigress standing just a few metres away from us after it attacked us and we fell on the ground. For some moments I froze and was at my wit’s end before I used the trick taught to us by our elders and it really worked. When I started making noises my wife and brother too followed. I am overjoyed because I not only could save my life but also the lives of my wife and brother. Nothing could be more joyous a moment for me than this.”
Retired conservator of forest Jagdish Chandra said, “Sometimes a tiger or tigress attacks a human being in self-defence too sensing a threat to its life from him if he or she gets close to it in any particular situation. Standing still is a good practice to avoid conflict as running away may further strengthen the perceived threat felt by the tiger or tigress. Making noises too can help one while not running away as it may take the tiger by surprise but it all depends on particular situations in which a person is confronting a wild animal.”