A tiger gave two Indian men the scare of their lives, chasing — and nearly catching — them as they traveled through an Indian national park. What’s more, the beast came within a couple of feet of catching them. The entire incident was captured on video.
As Yahoo News reports, India’s Forests and Wildlife Protection Society posted a video of the incident on Facebook, and it’s since gone viral. The FAWPS is an environmental advocacy group that somehow got a hold of the footage, and they shared it, along with a bit of levity, on Saturday.
“A Tiger is seen chasing a bike in Muthanga Wildlife Safari in Wayanad in Kerala. Is this how the Tiger Parks are managed in India?”
However, the FAWPS didn’t provide much context about the video, including, perhaps most importantly, the names of the two men in the video, and what they were doing in the wildlife refuge in the first place.
The Hindustan Times tried to get to the bottom of it, with little success. The paper was able to confirm that the men were employees of India’s Forest Department and that they were in the area following reports of a tiger sighting.
In the video, which you can see below, the men are driving by on their motorbike when a tiger emerges from the woods and gives chase. The driver hits the throttle as the men yell in horror, and the animal gets within a couple of feet of the bike before giving up and disappearing back into the woods.
In case you were wondering, tigers can achieve a top speed of about 30 to 40 miles per hour, in short bursts, according to Sciencing. It’s not clear what type of motorbike the men were driving, but Bikewale notes that 125cc scooters are particularly popular in India, and they can reach top speeds of about 60 miles per hour.
This is Aizwal, Mizoram, a lesson for us for discipline and traffic sense.— Harsh Goenka (@hvgoenka) June 30, 2019
While traffic in cities in Delhi and Mumbai are getting more chaotic, good to see such good examples in the North east. pic.twitter.com/9dcmwEFUp2
Meanwhile, India is dealing with a major wildlife problem, and it’s only getting worse.
As The Guardian reported in 2017, humans and animals in India are finding themselves at odds more and more, as human dwellings encroach on shrinking animal habitats. Between April 2014 and May 2017, 1,144 people died from animal attacks. Elephants were the biggest offenders, killing 1,052 Indians in that time period. By comparison, tigers killed relatively few Indians; between January and May of 2017, tigers killed 27 people in India.
Meanwhile, the population of tigers in India, once nearing extinction, is on the rise. That’s good news for conservationists, but as you can see from the harrowing video, it’s not necessarily good news for some.