Woman snatched in West Bengal by tiger and dragged into surrounding forest

Authorities are hunting for the woman who disappeared on Saturday

A hunt is underway for a missing woman who was snatched by a tiger and disappeared into the surrounding forest in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, an official said Saturday.

Forest official Nabin Chandra Bahunguna said the unnamed woman, her husband and a boat driver were trying to catch crabs in a shallow river near the Pirkhali Forest on Friday when the tiger jumped on her and dragged her into the wilderness.

The attack occurred in the Sunderbans, where the Ganges River empties into the Bay of Bengal. Authorities have been searching for her in the vast and tangled mangrove forest but have yet to find any trace of her.

It was the sixth tiger attack this year in the Sunderbans, where environmentalists say shrinking habitat is forcing tigers to venture farther 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 family were also understood to be crab fishing in a stream in the Sunderbans National Park when the animal jumped aboard the boat and attacked the man.

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

Their numbers are also dwindling fast because of deaths at the hands of poachers, who target the creatures for their skin, bones, teeth and claws.