The Marauder Of Talpatti

Professor Mawla

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Tonight , I am going to relate an incident from 1974 where I was assigned to hunt a marauding Royal Bengal tiger that was operating in the Talpatti Forest Range of the Sundarban mangrove forests . This animal was directly responsible for the death of four local villagers and it was only through sheer luck and the assistance of my extremely competent Garo tracker , that I was able to take it out before the number of human casualties could arise .

Before I begin , I must give the customary prologue that I own exclusive rights to each and every single photograph which is being used in this article . Several of them have featured in my book , when I originally had it published in 1994 . Therefore , none of these photographs may be reproduced without my permission .

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The tanned hide of the marauder of Talpatti ; owned by the author .
 
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It was the February of 1974 . I was called to partake in some construction work on a tea estate in Sri Mangel ( which is located in the northeastern part of the country ) . The owner wanted to have a bird house built for his dozens of pet pigeons and he was willing to pay our firm 25,000 Taka in order to conduct this work . The other members of the construction firm and I were working on the bird house , for roughly six hours a day ; hoping that the work be completed by the end of the month . The owner and his wife were extremely generous people . They promised to let me shoot two dozen of the thousands of wild doves on the property , as a reward for my services after the construction work was properly completed ; knowing that these delicious game birds would fill a substantial part of my larder .

We had completed construction of the bird house , by the 22nd of February . I personally received 2,500 Taka for my services . And on the 23rd of February , I was able to enjoy the entire morning hunting doves in the tea estate . For this application , I used my BRNO .22 LR ( Long Rifle ) bolt action rifle and Eley Rifle Club 40 grain solid lead factory loads . In roughly one hour , I was able to take out all 24 of the wild doves which I had been permitted to shoot . Taking the doves back to my Ford pickup truck , I used the chrome vanadium carbon steel clip point blade from my Case trapper folding knife to disembowel and clean the birds . Then , I put them all inside a large plastic bag and kept the bag inside a blue ice chest which I always used to carry in the back of my Ford pickup truck ; back in those days .

I drove back to my apartment and decided that I would dine on six of the wild doves for lunch . I prepared the doves simply : By seasoning them with salt , pepper , paprika and canned butter . Then , I pan seared them on a cast iron skillet and dined on them along with a tin of Heinz macaroni & cheese and a glass of lemonade . While dining on my lunch , I turned on my television and was hoping that a good film would show ( we had no cable , back in those days ) . The news was being shown and the words “ marauding Royal Bengal tiger “ caught my attention immediately .

There was a marauding Royal Bengal tiger , which was at large in the Talpatti region of the Sundarban mangrove forests ( which is located in the southwestern part of the country ) . The creature was already responsible for fatally mangling three local villagers ( two honey collectors and one wood cutter ) in less than one week . The Sundarban Forest Department ( SFD ) had ( correctly ) drawn up the conclusion that the fatalities would only increase ; should no one be able to hunt down and take out the marauder as quickly as possible . And they were offering 750 Taka to any local licensed arms owners , who would successfully be able to destroy the Royal Bengal tiger .

I pondered about the situation for a moment . 750 Taka was a great deal of money , back in those days . I could get 20 free meals with that sort of money . I certainly had prior experience with successfully hunting down Royal Bengal tigers and thus , I decided that I should volunteer my services to the Talpatti Forest Department ( TFD ) .

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BRNO .22 LR bolt action rifle owned by the author .
 
The next morning , I had set off to the Khulna division in my old Ford pickup truck . I chose to travel relatively light ; taking only what I would need :
- My Laurona 12 bore ( 2 3/4 inch chambers ) sidelock ejector double barreled side by side shotgun
- 25 rounds of Eley Alphamax 2 3/4 inch number 4 birdshot shells
- Six rounds of Eley Alphamax 2 3/4 inch LG shells
- My compass
- My wallet , containing 400 Taka in small notes
- My Case trapper folding knife
- A spare set of clothes
- My straight razor
- Toiletries
- My six cell torchlight

It was roughly 6:30 PM , when I had arrived at the head office of the Talpatti Forest Department and parked my Ford pickup truck . I went up to the desk of the senior Forest Guard and asked for my Letter Of Authorization ( LOA ) . After taking down my name and thumb print , the senior Forest Guard signed a Letter which gave me the permission and the authority to hunt down the marauder of Talpatti . I asked the gentleman if he had any Garo trackers under his employment , whose assistance I could enlist in my pursuit of the marauder . The senior Forest Guard told me that I would find a Garo tracker waiting for me at the head office , by the following morning . He also gave me a wireless radio to contact the Talpatti Forest Department ; in the event of any emergency .

I spent that night in one of the back rooms of the head office . The Forest Guards were kind enough to give me a blanket and a pillow for sleeping on on of the benches . I had my dinner at the mess hall of the head office . It was rustic delicious fare : Beef Bihari boti kebab and crispy paratha flat breads . I completed my meal with a bottle of Coca Cola and then went to my quarters , so as to get some sleep .

The next day , I showered and shaved in the washroom of the head office and went out to meet my Garo tracker . True to the words of the senior Forest Guard , my Garo tracker was waiting for me outside the head office . I was pleasantly surprised to see a familiar face . It was Gautomda , one of the two Garo tribesmen who had guided me when I had hunted Royal Bengal tigers in the Sundarban mangrove forests in 1972 ( I previously mentioned him in this article : https://www.africahunting.com/threads/two-royal-bengal-tigers-in-one-night.59275/ ) . He was just as overjoyed to see me , as I was him . While all Garo tribesmen are absolutely unrivaled in their dedication and fierce loyalty to their employer , the fact I had previously hunted with Gautomda gave me all the more reason to be confident in his proficiency in aiding me to track down the marauder .

As I have mentioned in my previous writings , the only acceptable method of traveling through the Sundarban mangrove forests is by using dinghy boats . This is on account of the thousands of tiny canals which run through the entire forest range . For this reason , Gautomda and I hired a dinghy boatman by the name of Hashem to transport us to all of the sites where the corpses of the marauder’s victims had been found . We spent the entire day traveling to the various sites , where the corpses of the marauder’s victims had been found . As always customary , I carried my Laurona 12 bore sidelock ejector with me along with my stock of Eley Alphamax shells .

I studied all three of the sites and came to the the conclusion that the marauder was a large male which was swimming through the canals , in order to stalk and ambush his victims . I also found numerous pug marks of the marauder in the soft clay near the banks of the canals , to reinforce my theory . The pug marks of the animal , displayed no signs of any pathologies ; effectively ruling out any injuries to the Royal Bengal tiger’s paws as being the reason behind his marauding tendencies .

Right at that moment , I heard the senior Forest Guard calling for the attention of all the Talpatti Forest Department appointed employees via my issued wireless radio . He notified all the Talpatti Forest Department appointed employees in proximity of the area , to make their way to the western edge of the Talpatti Forest Range . The marauder had claimed a fourth victim . Gautomda and I rushed back to Hashem’s dinghy boat and I told our loyal boatman to get me to the western edge of Talpatti , as swiftly as possible .

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Laurona 12 bore sidelock ejector owned by the author
F98CEFFC-EB77-40B0-8C02-62B96449CAE9.jpeg

Eley Alphamax 2 3/4 inch LG shells owned by the author
 
When we arrived at the western corner of Talpatti , Gautomda and I found a massive group of local villagers gathered around something . They were screaming and panicking . They were mostly wood cutters , fishermen , honey collectors and shrimp harvesters . The Talpatti Forest Guards were desperately attempting to hold the crowd of local villagers back . Gautomda and I pushed through the crowds and found the fourth victim of the marauder . It was a little girl ; perhaps seven years of age and surrounded by a substantial pool of blood . Her head had been severed from her corpse and her intestines were jutting out of a large jagged hole in her stomach . The head was missing a great deal of flesh and was partially crushed . I immediately knew exactly what was occurred . The marauder had pounced on the child , and one swipe from one of his claws had separated the little girl’s head from her body . The creature had eviscerated the child’s corpse with the claws on one of his hind paws and was feeding on the head of the little girl . However , the fact that the child’s breasts and buttocks were completely intact was a clear indication that the marauder had not yet completed feeding upon her .

The child’s father was present at the scene and he was absolutely hysterical with tears and howls . He simply would not leave the site of her corpse and was desperately attempting to hold her corpse . However , the Talpatti Forest Guards were doing their best to restrain him . I knew what had to be done . As I have mentioned in my previous writings , it takes a marauding Royal Bengal tiger two feedings to completely consume all of the flesh from a human corpse . Thus , I knew that the creature would soon return after sundown . I explained to the Talpatti Forest Guards that the child’s corpse must remain absolutely unmoved , or else the marauder would immediately be alerted that something was amiss . This would result in the Royal Bengal tiger steering clear from the area , and I would lose ( perhaps ) my ( only ) opportunity to take out the marauder before further loss of human life was incurred .

The Forest Guards explained to the villagers that I had been appointed by the Talpatti Forest Department in order to hunt down the marauder , and that I needed the child’s corpse to remain where it was for at least this one night . The little girl’s father was vehemently opposed to the fact that I was going to use his only child’s corpse as bait to lure in a marauding Royal Bengal tiger . However , he finally relented under two conditions :
i ) If the marauder was not killed by sunrise , then he would take back his daughter’s corpse anyway and give her a proper burial .
ii ) I was not to let the marauding Royal Bengal tiger mutilate what was left of his daughter’s corpse , any further .
I readily agreed to both of these conditions . I instructed the Talpatti Forest Guards and the local villagers to return to their dinghy boats together , by loudly clapping and screaming . This , I made them do so that the marauder ( which I knew was bound to be somewhere nearby ; probably napping as Royal Bengal tigers are wont to do after they partially complete feeding upon a human corpse ) would be dissuaded from attempting to attack them . Hashem told me that he feared for his life and did not want to remain in this part of Talpatti , while the marauder was still at large . I understood his concerns and I told him to leave the area and return for us at the first hours of sunrise . Gautomda and I watched Hashem get into his little dinghy boat and row away , leaving us both stranded in this part of Talpatti for the rest of the night .

Gautomda spotted a large banyan tree which was roughly five feet away from where the little girl’s corpse lay . Both he and I decided to climb up the tree and spend our entire night , sitting on one of the tallest branches ( which was roughly 20 feet above the ground ) . I loaded both the chambers of my Laurona 12 bore sidelock ejector with Eley Alphamax LG shells and clamped my six cell torchlight to the fore end of the shotgun . Gautomda began to imitate the mating calls of a Royal Bengal tigress , as I waited . We both knew that the marauder would venture into this area significantly faster ( than he anyway would ) , if he was under the impression that a Royal Bengal tigress was nearby which desired male company . It was a full moon night .
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The countless canals running through the Sundarban mangrove forests , photographed by the author . 2019
 
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It was roughly 9:10 PM , when Gautomda and I heard the splashing of something heavy in the water . We could see the marauder slowly crawl out of the water and rise to his feet . Even in the dark , he looked larger than most normal male Royal Bengal tigers . Gautomda immediately stopped making the Royal Bengal tigress mating calls and we both watched the animal slowly look around , in confusion . We both knew why the marauder was confused . He was looking for the Royal Bengal tigress . Being unable to find her , the marauder began to make his way towards the remains of the little girl .

I raised my Laurona 12 bore sidelock ejector to my shoulder and waited . I had to time my shots perfectly , if I had any hopes of using such a weapon to successfully take down a large male Royal Bengal tiger . By all accounts , a shotgun loaded with LG shells is a most marginal weapon for contending with such huge and imposing animals . However , it was the best weapon which I possessed with me at the time . I watched the Royal Bengal tiger slowly approach the child’s headless corpse and turn it over , with it’s right fore paw . Remembering my promise to the little girl’s father ( not to let the marauder mutilate his daughter’s corpse , any further ) , I decided to act . I switched on the six cell torchlight and instantly shined the powerful beam onto the body of the marauder . Before the startled animal could turn to look at me , I pulled the left trigger . A loud gunshot echoed through the entire Talpatti Forest Range , as the concentrated charge of eight antimony hardened lead LG slugs of .36 calibre tore into the region where the Royal Bengal tiger’s neck met the shoulder . The animal loudly roared in pain and gave a leap , right before slumping to the ground ; wailing and painfully beating his paws on the muddy ground . He was struggling to rise to his feat , but all of his attempts were ( still ) in vain . Without wasting any further time , I pulled the right trigger and gave the marauder a second concentrated charge of LG slugs ; right in the neck region . This silenced the animal completely and he ceased to move a muscle .


I opened the breech of my Laurona 12 bore sidelock ejector and loaded the shotgun with two fresh Eley Alphamax LG shells , before snapping it shut again . Then , Gautomda and I cautiously begin to climb down the banyan tree . I cautiously approached the unmoving , slumped body of the Royal Bengal tiger and poked the animal’s left eye with the muzzles of my Laurona 12 bore sidelock ejector .

True enough ; the marauder of Talpatti was no more .
 
Neither Gautomda nor I had contemplated that we would be able to sort out the marauder before 10:00 PM . How were we going to leave this part of Talpatti now ? Hashem’s dinghy boat would not be coming until Sunrise . I finally decided to accept our predicament and decided to spend the rest of the night sleeping under the trees . However , Gautomda and his unfailing devotion never ceased to amaze me . He volunteered to swim to the nearest locality and bring a dinghy boat back for me .

Hearing this , I immediately began to protest . As much as I wanted to return to the head office of the Talpatti Forest Department for the night , I was not ready to put Gautomda’s life in danger by allowing him swim through the canals at night . These canals were infested with eight different species of poisonous snakes , crocodiles exceeding 20 feet in length and more than 15 different species of venomous insects . However , Gautomda told me not to worry and to stay near the corpse of the slain marauder . Before I could protest , the fearless young Garo tribesman leapt into the water and disappeared . With little choice but to wait , I sat next to the slain Royal Bengal tiger . My eyes fell on a blood covered object near the remains of the little girl . Curious , I walked over to it and examined it . It was a little doll made from cloth rags and wood ; quite common amongst the little girls of Bengali villages . I realized that the little girl was still carrying her toy with her , when the marauder had attacked her .

An hour passed by and I cursed myself for letting Gautomda simply leap into the water and vanish . What if something bad happened to him ? All because I failed to stop him from being too foolhardy . However , my concerns turned out to be completely unfounded . In less than 40 minutes , I saw a dinghy boat coming towards the island . True enough , it was Gautomda and half a dozen villagers . How the young Garo tribesman had successfully managed to swim through the entire canal and get to the nearest settlement without falling victim to any of the aforementioned dangers which were lurking in the water , remains a mystery to me to this very day . But successfully bring help , he certainly did . The local villagers helped Gautomda and I load up the carcass of the marauder into the dinghy boat ; as well as the remains of the little girl . At then , we were off to the head office of the Talpatti Forest Department .

An autopsy revealed that the marauding Royal Bengal tiger was quite an elderly one . He weighed 268 kilograms and had a snout to tail measurement of ten feet four inches . A fair number of his teeth and also a number of his claws had fallen out . Being too old to hunt his natural prey ( Axis deer or wild boar ) , he had turned to feeding upon human beings in order to nourish himself . I had the hide of the marauder cleanly flayed and cured with salt , before it was dried over a slow burning fire . Aside from getting a handsome ( for 1974 ) reward of 750 Taka , I was also allowed to keep the hide of the marauder . Hunting Royal Bengal tigers for sport had already gotten formally prohibited in Bangladesh by then , and so was the sale or purchase of the hides of Royal Bengal tigers . Thus , I decided to keep the hide as a personal souvenir . I gave Gautomda 300 Taka from my reward fee and the Talpatti Forest Guards also let him keep the testicles of the marauding Royal Bengal tiger ( which Garo tribesmen consider to be an aphrodisiac ) .

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Autopsy of marauding Royal Bengal tiger , photographed by the author . 2006
 
As the years went by , I am glad that I retained the hide of the marauder of Talpatti . Sometimes , sentimental value supersedes financial value . I returned the doll to the father of the unfortunate little girl , whose innocent life had been the final one to be claimed by the marauding Royal Bengal tiger . He tearfully accepted it and told me that his daughter’s name was Rehnuma .

I would like to dedicate this story to the memory of Rehnuma , that poor little seven year old girl who lost her life due to the cruelty of nature . As a personal opinion , I firmly believe that the number of marauding Royal Bengal tigers in southeast Asia would greatly be reduced if a form of regulated trophy hunting existed to reduce the number of elderly males ( who have passed breeding age ) which inhibit the countless forests of the region . The funds generated from these trophy hunts , would aid greatly in a better and more sustainable conservation of the species in the long run . They would also greatly reduce the immense human - wildlife conflict which occurs in this part of the world . Like it or not , the reality of the way the world works is this - The greatest approach to conserving a species , is by always putting a monetary value on it .

Of course , I am only a college professor and not a world leader .


THE END
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The only known photograph of Rehnuma , collected by the author . 1972
 
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You are simply full of surprises , Anayeth . @WAB , @Roller and I were specifically talking about this very brute with you ... On another thread . I never imagined that you were actually planning to post that very reminiscence TODAY .

That royal Bengal tiger is far larger than some of the brutes which I used to guide foreign clients for ... During my career as a professional shikaree in Nagpur , India between 1961 and 1970 .

I genuinely wish that I had Garo trackers , during my career . My Shawtaal trackers were flat out drunkards ! Doddering imbeciles ... The lot of them were .
 
How sad for the little girl. At least you got him stopped.
@Wyatt Smith
Yes , is is extremely unfortunate . Marauding Royal Bengal tigers and cheetahs always opt for attacking the weakest possible human beings , whom they can find . This predominantly consists of children and elderly people , who are unable to defend themselves . Most of the marauding Royal Bengal tigers which I have shot since the last 48 years , used to consider children as a particularly favorite delicacy . As a matter of fact , I even know of one incident where a marauding Royal Bengal tiger was stalking a little boy and his grandmother , and deliberately chose to attack the child whilst completely ignoring the elderly lady .
 
You are simply full of surprises , Anayeth . @WAB , @Roller and I were specifically talking about this very brute with you ... On another thread . I never imagined that you were actually planning to post that very reminiscence TODAY .

That royal Bengal tiger is far larger than some of the brutes which I used to guide foreign clients for ... During my career as a professional shikaree in Nagpur , India between 1961 and 1970 .

I genuinely wish that I had Garo trackers , during my career . My Shawtaal trackers were flat out drunkards ! Doddering imbeciles ... The lot of them were .
@Major Khan Sir ,
That is most unfortunate . I have never met a more loyal and fearless sort , than the Sundarban Garo tribesman .
 
Thank you for sharing this story with us. You have had some incredible adventures!
 
Professor, did you use the same trackers Kowshik Rahmon was so fond of? It has been almost a year since he posted anything and my memory could be getting a little hazy.
@Shootist43
That is correct . Garo tribesmen inhibit the Sundarban mangrove forests and also the hills of West Bengal ( where Kawshik used to guide foreign clients on hunts , in India ) .
 
How is Kawshik? If you are in touch please let him know that his contributions are greatly missed.
@WAB
Kawshik is doing quite well . He absolutely loves the new 7x57 mm Mauser ( a vintage BRNO ZKK- 600 ) which he had purchased on this January . I recently introduced him to Sellier & Bellot’s 175 grain Nosler Partition soft nosed factory load . Aside from using it to hunt the usual Axis deer and barking deer and wild boars , he has also used it to successfully take out a problem Asian sloth bear recently ( which was menacing the employees of one of his neighboring tea estates ) . He is a true gentleman , whose humility is rivaled only by his proficiency as a hunter .

Unfortunately , his niece’s mother-in-law passed away from the Chinese virus recently . She was very close to all of us , as she would often go on dove and quail hunts with us whenever she used to visit Bangladesh .
 
Thanks for sharing this story. Once again a night hunt. The full moon is a great help I'm sure. Good shooting. Too bad about the child. At least you were able to stop the tiger before more lost their lives to him.
Bruce
 
@WAB
Kawshik is doing quite well . He absolutely loves the new 7x57 mm Mauser ( a vintage BRNO ZKK- 600 ) which he had purchased on this January . I recently introduced him to Sellier & Bellot’s 175 grain Nosler Partition soft nosed factory load . Aside from using it to hunt the usual Axis deer and barking deer and wild boars , he has also used it to successfully take out a problem Asian sloth bear recently ( which was menacing the employees of one of his neighboring tea estates ) . He is a true gentleman , whose humility is rivaled only by his proficiency as a hunter .

Unfortunately , his niece’s mother-in-law passed away from the Chinese virus recently . She was very close to all of us , as she would often go on dove and quail hunts with us whenever she used to visit Bangladesh .

Very sorry to hear that, my condolences.
 

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