Maharashtra: It was a miraculous escape for two men, on a motorcycle, who had an encounter with not one but two fully-grown tigers in the wilderness. In an over four-minute-long stomach-churning video that has surfaced, the motorcycle-borne men, somewhere in Maharashtra, are surrounded by the big cats -- a tiger in front and a tiger behind.
The men stand still, frozen with fear. They couldn't have zoomed off as that would have agitated the tigers and led to an instant attack or a terrifying chase.
The tigers, however, don't seem to be in a mood to taste blood. While one of them strolls around, takes rest and resumes his leisurely walk, the other one, not much of a walker, sits peacefully.
All the while, a group of people in a car, who shot the video, keep telling the bikers not to move or do anything. This goes on for what feels like a century before the tigers give way to the men who make a dash for life. The car rushes to pick them and speeds away.
India is home to the world's largest tiger population, which is threatened by a loss of habitat as well as poachers. With increasing human encroachment into their reserves, conflicts between humans and tigers are inevitable. But most attacks on humans are chance encounters gone wrong, according to various findings.
As per the last count in 2014, India was home to 2,226 adult tigers, up by nearly 500 tigers in a period of four years. The National Tiger Conservation Authority, which is in the throes of a fresh tiger count, estimates that the tiger numbers may rise to nearly 3,000 by 2019 amid enhanced protection of their habitat.