Two years ago on August 10, for the family of seven headed by late Ap Tsagay of Dorji Geompa in Trongsa, it was like any other day for them. Their daily routine circumambulated attending the daily domestic chores of a farm household. It was nothing unusual either to lose a bull who would roam deep into the forests looking for greener pastures.
Early morning at 7, Ap Tsagay went to fetch his bull that was long gone and he needed to herd it back home. Dangling a Patang by the waist, draped in white jacket, and carrying a cell phone and wearing gumboots, he went alone looking for his lost bull.
This was usual routine for him and he only had thoughts of returning home with the bull and back to other chores at home.
Two hours into the forests, he couldn’t still trace the bull and decided to call his wife. “Sometime at 9 AM, he called me to tell that he is still looking for the Ox.” Aum Lemo recollects. She suggested he keep looking, if not return home.
Almost towards the midday, around six hours in the forests, there was neither a call nor coming back home. Aum Lemo tried calling him. But to her utter surprise, his cell was switched off. “I was neither surprised nor worried,” said Aum Lemo.
“It was usually the time he should be coming home for lunch.”Still not convinced that anything bad would have happened, she patiently waited for him to return. Slowly the sun disappeared from behind the horizon but there was still no sign of him. Trying to reach him through cell phone proved futile since it was switched off.
That’s when worry slowly crept in which quickly turned to panic. Taking along, his father, brother and a neighbor, four of them went looking for him. She said that they chanced upon his footprints along the path and kept following it. By then, it was getting dark and they couldn’t manage to find him. They shouted calling by his name but only the echo bounced back from the thickets. They plodded on with more and more worries dawning upon the search and rescue team.
Few hours into the lookout, his father in a startled mode suddenly shouted, “He’s here, he’s here.” The remaining members of the team rushed to the scene and encountered a lifeless body lying by the edge of a small clearing “I couldn’t believe he was dead,” Aum Lemo said with tears filling up her pitiful eyes. She shook him and cried desperately clinging by the dead corpse. But there is no coming back. He was long gone.
His arms were severely injured and his neck was broken, he lay peacefully passed away within the pool of blood. Aum Lemo remembers that his white jacket was removed and one of his gumboots was also dislodged. A Royal Bengal Tiger has mauled her husband to death.
A man so much alive in the morning was a dead corpse in the evening falling victim to the animal in world is at risk of extinction.
By the time, they reached home, it was midnight. After the funeral, the incident is long forgotten by others. But for Aum Lemo, the incident still clings on and remains etched in her hearts of heart.
Since then she has been beneficiaries of numerous compensations and solidarities. She received semso from His Majesty the King, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Royal Government of Bhutan and others.
The family was also granted scholarships for the two children by His Majesty. The agriculture minister Lyonpo (Dr) Pema Gyamtsho also visited the family to deliver semso in both cash and kind.
Aum Lemo said she was angry and cursed the incident and the fateful day. But more than that, she feels his absence while performing their farm chores. “Especially when called for a Zomdhu and Woola, I cannot do it alone when I’ve my equally attention-starved domestic works.”
Exactly on the Global Tiger Day celebrated in Bjeezam Primary School in Trongsa, it’s been two years that her husband was killed by the tiger and she was offered cash to express the solidarity of the department.