The beautiful forest that is the Sundarbans lies in the Bay of Bengal on the coast of India. Its lush environment is among the most breathtaking sites in the world, but lying in wait are some of the most ferocious predators that our planet has ever known. The Bengal tiger population of the Sundarbans have a reputation of being the deadliest tiger population in the world. Unlike other tiger populations that are found in India, the Bengal tigers in the Sundarbans have a number of external causes for their behavior, and their taste for human flesh is unlike that of any other Bengal tiger group found in the world. They are aggressive, cunning, and make the lives of local farmers a living hell. The villagers that inhabit this area are in constant peril from these savage predators.
The behaviors of these Bengal tigers are widely documented, and many publications have flown to the Sundarbans in an attempt to better understand their hostile behavior. Let it be understood that these tigers don't just kill humans as a last-ditch effort for survival or because they are being attacked; they kill them because they see them as a viable source of food that they have grown to enjoy. Humans are a very easy target, and over time, the Bengal tigers of the Sundarbans have developed a love for human flesh. They seek them out, and when the farmers least expect it, the tigers pounce on their prey. These 15 chilling facts about these predators will no doubt leave you speechless.
15 One Of The Most Heavily Populated Area On The Planet
The Bengal tiger may not have the population numbers that you think, but their scarcity is more than made up for by their brutality. There are a number of different estimates out there, but the consensus seems to be that the Sundarbans is home to about 200 Bengal tigers, making it one of the most densely populated areas for tigers in the world. There are roughly 2300 tigers on the planet, and about half of them reside in India. So it should come as no surprise that the Sundarbans is full of these predators. The lush landscape and salty waters that encompass the area are full of wildlife that are in constant danger from the tigers.
Any area that relies so heavily on the environment is bound to have its share of dangers from the wildlife, but few places are as terrifying as the Sundarbans. The aggressive tigers that live in the area force people to always be on the alert.
14 One Man Has Survived 3 Separate Attacks
The chances of surviving a tiger attack may seem like a slim margin, but people in the Sundarbans are able to thwart off these predators without losing their life. One man, however, is the definition of lucky. Jamal Mohumad has survived three separate tiger attacks in the Sundarbans, and his detailed account that he gave to BBC was both incredible and horrifying to read. That's right, this man has managed to survive three attacks from the most ferocious tigers the world has ever known.
Jamal's story of getting into a shouting match with a local tiger for survival is absolutely chilling. He screamed at the top of his lungs to show the tiger that he was not afraid and that the tiger was in for a world of hurt. Jamal screamed and shouted until his throat was bleeding. His lifesaving standoff lasted for around 30 minutes, and the bleeding was a small price to pay for remaining alive.
13 Backwards Masks Used By Farmers No Longer Fool The Tigers
In order to thwart tiger attacks while farming, villagers have developed a simple piece of technology that has saved numerous lives. A simple mask that imitates a human face was created and worn on the backs of local's heads while they work. Because the tiger prefers a stealthier approach, the mask gives the appearance that the farmer is watching them, when in reality, they are fast at work, gathering what they need to, and getting back to their village in the safest way possible. While this had provided locals some temporary relief, they soon found that tigers are smarter than they appear.
Over time, the local tiger population has wised up to the ruse being posed by the farmers, and they have continued their attacks. This has to be one of the most disheartening facts for locals to live with as they genuinely thought that they had outsmarted their predators.
12 They Have Ripped Families Apart
With their ability to hunt and kill farmers and fisherman virtually at will, the tigers of the Sundarbans have ripped families apart with their shear brutality. This, sadly, goes beyond hunting the easy targets that are in the water and in the jungle. These tigers often make their way into villages, and attack people there. In an interview with BBC, a young man named Krisnopodo gave a horrifying account of his mother being killed by a tiger. As the story goes, a tiger waited until dark to sneak his way into a village. From there, he attacked a woman in her house, leaving her brutalized. Her son, Krisnopodo, discovered her after the attack.
The pecking order that makes up the food chain is ruthless, and the tigers are firmly atop of said chain in the Sundarbans. They rule the proverbial roost, and locals attempts to reduce attacks have failed. They are not even safe sleeping in their own homes.
11 Officials Wear Neck Pads To Prevent Tigers From Killing Them
While the backwards masks were used to trick tigers into thinking that the villagers were keeping an eye on them, this invention is strictly used as a last line of defense from being killed by these vicious predators. Officials in the area are known to wear neck pads while on patrol, providing them a safety blanket of sort. Tigers have long and thick canine teeth that are used to bite through their prey's neck. By wearing these pads, officials have some minor protection from the tiger's canines should they be pounced on.
Of course, there is no guarantee that these neck pads will always save your life. Tigers are big predators, and their ability to hunt and maim their prey are virtually unparalleled in the area. Hopefully these neck pads act as a starting point for the development of other protective equipment for locals. Until then, these neck pads will act as one of the most sophisticated pieces of equipment in the area.
10 Up To 60 Attacks Per Year
Living in the Sundarbans, locals have grown accustomed to being lower on the food chain. Aside from other predators that may lurk in the jungle, tigers are of paramount concern for the people that live there. While those of us that live in the suburbs have little to worry about (save for the occasional raccoon), inhabitants of the Sundarbans are at an incredibly high risk of being attacked by tigers. In fact, there can be up to 60 tiger attacks any given year, roughly coming to one attack every 6 days. Statistically speaking, that means that at least 1 tiger attack occurs every single week.
Considering our comfortable positions in life, we have to feel pretty blessed that we will never have to deal with the horrors that these people face. Trying to live off of the land in the Sundarbans is one of the most difficult tasks on the planet.
9 A Shortage Of Prey Makes Them More Aggressive
The Bay of Bengal is prone to natural disasters, which in turn depletes the area of both land and prey. Back in 2007, Cyclone Aila put over 20 million people in the general India area in a terrible situation, and hundreds of inhabitants throughout Bangladesh lost their lives. That same year, Cyclone Sidr rocked the same area, and its death toll reached nearly 3500. The devastating effects that these tropical storms have on the area cannot be understated, and humans and animals alike are all affected. The depletion of land and resources causes survival mode to kick in.
For the local tiger population, their survival instincts guide them towards consuming human flesh for sustenance. If local wildlife continues to dwindle, humans will be at a greater risk of tiger attacks in the future. With tropical storms posing a constant threat to the area, tiger attacks on humans will no doubt continue.
8 Stealthier Tactics Make The Undetectable
Despite their size, tigers have an impressive ability to be stealthy in their hunting approach, and it is often too late to realize that an attack is about to happen. Be it other animals or humans, the tigers of the Sundarbans are merciless in their stealthy approach. In this area, the tiger population is a bit skinnier than other tigers throughout India, which provides them the luxury of being harder to detect.
This also aids them, in their ability to swim great distances to both travel and track down their prey. Though they may appear sleeker, tigers can weigh anywhere between 300 and 500 pounds, and their heavy frame pouncing on top of their prey makes it easy for them to pin their victim down and have their way with them. For those in the area, simple tasks that are necessary for survival are treacherous, especially with the tiger's ability to seemingly appear out of nowhere.
7 Fishermen Are In Constant Danger
In the Sundarbans, fishing is an essential part of survival, and locals use fishing to both feed their families and for trade. Unfortunately, the dangers of a tiger attack in the Bay pose a constant threat to the men who are simply trying to provide for their family. Because of their frames, these tigers are able to swim great distances, and their unparalleled stamina allows them to swim back and forth in search of prey. Locals say that in order to be a fisherman, you have to be brave and be ready to stand your ground against the imminent threat of tigers.
Fishermen have been attacked on numerous occasions, and seeing their colleagues dragged back to shore by a tiger has to be one of the most terrifying sights these men will deal with. Not only will tigers kill a victim and drag them to shore, but they will continue to attack the same fishing vessel until they are either tired or scared away.
6 80 Attacks On Local Livestock Per Year
Locals of the Sundarbans live a life that is wrought with fear, as they are in constant danger of being killed by a surprise tiger attack. Aside from their own lives, these people must also look out for the families and for the livestock. The stealthy tiger population that lives in the area are more than capable of sneaking into an unsuspecting village and plundering their livestock. Numbers vary by year, but there can be up to 80 separate attacks on local livestock, making them more prone to attacks than the humans that care for them.
As if being in constant survival mode for your own life wasn't bad enough, having to constantly worry about your livestock adds significantly more stress into your daily routine. Each night, villagers go to sleep hoping to wake up with their livestock intact, and roughly 80 times per year, this is not the case.
5 Natural Disasters May Have Fueled Their Desire For Human Flesh
Now, you may be wondering why these particular tigers have a taste for human flesh. After all, other tiger populations attack far less frequently than the tigers found in the Sundarbans, effectively making these tigers an anomaly of sorts. Well, much like the way natural disasters have depleted resources in the area, the disasters could have also piqued tiger's interests in humans. There is speculation that dead bodies that washed ashore after cyclones could have led to tigers attacking humans the way they do now. With resources depleting after such a disaster, a human corpse would act as an easy meal.
Should this be true, it is a depressing and gruesome notion that the behavior of these tigers was drastically altered due to eating dead bodies. Another school of thought believes that the incredibly salty water in the area make the tigers easily agitated, though this is speculation as well.
4 They Leave Gruesome Injuries To Survivors
As we mentioned earlier, the tiger's canine teeth have the ability to pierce through the necks of their prey, making death swift for the unlucky souls who must face them. Their claws are incredibly dangerous as well, giving these tigers multiple weapons in their attacking arsenal. For those who manage to survive these brutal attacks, they wear the scars of battle, leaving others in the area thankful to see another day. Villagers have lost the ability to see, speak, and work due to these brutal attacks. They will spend the rest of their days permanently marked, and permanently aware of the true dangers of the tigers.
No man, woman, or child is susceptible from attacks, and the damage done by these tigers last a lifetime. Most any workplace has its share of hazards to look out for, but this is on an entirely different level. These unlucky villagers, while badly scarred, are still thankful to be alive.
3 The Goddess Bonbibi Protects The Villagers
In the Sundarbans, man-made efforts have provided some help to the tiger attacks, but locals seek the help of a Goddess for protection while they farm and hunt. She is a guardian spirit that watches over the forest that the locals make their way to everyday, and prayers and sacrifices to her are meant to provide protection. This, however, is not enough, as the people also have to maintain an order while farming and hunting. Because they are living from the land, locals are required to respect all wildlife that lives in the area. In doing so, they never take more than what is required for survival. This deal with Bonbibi has aided the villagers and local wildlife to maintain a symbiotic relationship.
Like any deity, Bonbibi has an enemy. Dakkin Rai serves as Bonbibi's nemesis, and is said to rule over the predators in the area. Given the nature of attacks, locals believe that the attacking tigers are in fact Dakkin himself.
2 Tigers Are Too Important To The Ecosystem To Kill
Given their pact with Bonbibi, locals never take more than is required for survival to keep a balance in the area. In keeping with the balance of things, each ecosystem on the planet is comprised of plants and animals that all maintain symbiosis, and all play their part in helping one another. Because of their importance to the ecosystem, there are a number of tiger reserves that aide in protecting the feared predators. An extinction of tigers would have consequences for all forms of life in the area, so it is important to keep them safe and alive.
Because of the reserves, people from around the world now possess the ability to go and visit the Sundarbans, getting a firsthand look at the wildlife in the area. If you are a bit hesitant to visit any of these places, I wouldn't blame you. After all, the facts that were presented here would scare off most people.
1 Despite This, Villagers Have Sought Revenge
The order that is supposed to be maintained in the Sundarbans, while noble, do not go off without a hitch. By this, of course, I mean that some locals have sought revenge against the monsters that have kept them living in fear their entire lives. While this literally goes against everything from our last two entries, can you really blame these villagers from seeking revenge against these predators? These tigers have killed their family members, prevented them from living in peace, and have ruined some of their lives. They rule the jungle, and everyone near there must abide by their way of life.
The tigers of the Sundarbans have long been a problem for local villagers, and they have made their lives a living hell. They prey on the weak and the strong alike, and people both ashore and at sea aren't safe. Though their numbers are small, these tigers have left their mark on the world.