India tiger attack in Sundarbans
Indian forest guards and workers travel on a boat to collect statistics related to tigers during a week-long tiger census in the core area of Sundarbans Tiger Reserve, about 130 km (81 miles) south of Kolkata March 4, 2010 Reuters

A woman in West Bengal was snatched by a tiger and dragged into a forest as her helpless husband looked on.

The couple were trying to catch crabs in a shallow river on Friday (8 August) when the tiger attacked the woman and dragged her into the undergrowth of the Pirkhali Forest.

Forest official Nabin Chandra Bahunguna said that forest guards searched for the woman, but couldn't find any trace of her.

The attack, which happened in the Sunderbans, is the sixth tiger attack this year in the area.

Environmentalists say that the diminishing habitat is forcing tigers to venture farther out from the forest in search of food.

In June, a Bengal tiger dragged a man off a fishing boat in India and into a mangrove swamp as his children looked on in horror.

The 62-year-old victim was fishing in one of the creeks in the vast mangrove forest renowned for its bio-diversity and tiger population. His children watched in horror as the animal leaped aboard the boat and attacked the man.

The local community have been warned against fishing in rivers located by the forest, but poverty and failing crops have forced many farmers to risk their lives to feed their families.

Tiger Widows

India is home to more than half of the 3,200 tigers believed to be left in the wild in the world.

There are an estimated 500 Royal Bengal tigers in the reserve. According to Bangladeshi authorities, about 60 people are killed by tigers every year in their side of the vast swamp.

Tiger attacks have become common in recent years as animal habitats shrank because of human activity. Now every village in the marshland has women referred to as "tiger widows".

According to, tigers swim up to three miles at a stretch to reach villages in search of food. They also prey on the men who enter the forest to find food and firewood.

"They attack the strongest of the men first going straight for the neck. They may take a second and third victim also."