Huge Bengal Tiger Breaks Into Cowshed, Gets Stuck for 8 Hours

A huge Bengal tiger that became stuck in a cowshed for eight hours has been rescued by forest officials.

Villagers in the Etah district of Uttar Pradesh (UP) state, India, found the female tiger resting in the shed after she climbed in through a gap in the roof.

The Bengal tiger is one of the biggest cat species in the world. They usually avoid humans but have been known to attack if they feel their territory is threatened.

Footage of the rescue shows the UP Forest Department and a rapid response team from Wildlife SOS arriving at the scene to rescue the tiger. Thousands of villagers can be seen gathering around the cowshed watching the tense rescue operation. The rescue teams secured every corner of the shed and local police ensured villagers were kept at a safe distance.

Over the course of 8 hours, rescuers removed bricks from the shed one by one so they were able to locate the tiger and tranquilize her from a safe distance. Once she was tranquilized, the tiger was carefully lifted out of the shed and into a transport cage.

A medical evaluation revealed the tiger had a minor injury on her tail, which was treated on-site. She was then transported to the Etawah Safari reserve for further treatment.

Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and CEO of Wildlife SOS, told Newsweek the tiger had wandered out of its forest habitat, but rescuers are not certain which reserve she came from.

The tiger was trapped inside a chow shed in the Etah district WildlifeSOS

S. Ilayaraja, deputy director of veterinary Services at Wildlife SOS, said in a press release this was "quite a challenging operation."

"The tigress was stuck inside a shed and we could not get a clear view of her. It took us several attempts before the tigress was safely immobilized," Ilayaraja said.

A few years ago, tigers in India were close to extinction because of threats from poaching. But following conservation efforts and targets to protect the species, the country is now home to more than half the world's tiger population. According to 2019 government figures, there are now nearly 3,000 wild Bengal tigers in India, a 33 percent increase since 2014.

India has expanded tiger reserves across the country to support the population, but many are in close proximity with villages. As the population has risen, so have tiger-human conflicts.

While tiger spottings in urban landscapes are rare, an increasing number of wild animals make their way into villages on the hunt for food, as villages are expanding into their habitats.

Satyanarayan said in a press release: "The spotting of a tiger in such a densely human-populated area is an alarming reminder of the rapid habitat degradation threatening these majestic felines. As one of the last tiger-bearing lands in the world, it is our responsibility to protect the species and avoid human-wildlife conflicts. We are grateful for the hard work of the entire rescue team that made this operation a success."

Once the tiger was tranquilized, rescuers lifted her safely out of the shed. WildlifeSOS