A tiger prowling near villages in northern India has killed its 10th person in six weeks, a day after eluding a trap set by hunters with a live calf as bait.
The female tiger is believed to have strayed from Jim Corbett National Park, which was established in 1936 to provide endangered Bengal tigers with safe territory.
The big cat’s latest victim was a 50-year-old man who was collecting firewood on Sunday night in the forest outside Kalgarh village in Uttarakhand state, according to Saket Badola, deputy director of the national park.
The animal ate parts of the man’s leg and abdomen before being scared away by villagers waving shovels and metal rods.
Hunters had almost nabbed the tiger a day earlier with a bovine calf.
“On Saturday night the tigress almost fell in trap and was close to the calf,” Badola said. “But she did not attack the bait and left silently.”
Reports that a killer tiger was on the loose began circulating on December 29, when a 65-year-old man was mauled in Sambhal district of Uttar Pradesh state.
Since then, thousands of terrified villagers have been told to watch out for the animal and to avoid the forests.
“The animal has started attacking humans because it is not getting its natural prey,” said Rupek De, chief wildlife warden of Uttar Pradesh.
He said the hunters hired to kill the animal were having trouble tracking it in dense forests.
The team also was understaffed; only three of the six hunters hired for the job showed up for work, De said.
On Sunday, angry villagers seized a national forestry office, demanding protection and compensation for the families of the dead.
India’s wild tigers are considered endangered because of rampant poaching and shrinking habitat.