'Man-eater' tiger that killed nine in India shot dead

Big cat terrorised residents in Champaran in eastern India

A Royal Bengal tiger. AP
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Indian police have shot dead a tiger named the "Man-eater of Champaran" after it killed at least nine people.

The operation involved 200 people, including trackers on elephants, AFP quoted officials as saying on Sunday.

The big cat had terrorised locals on the fringes of the Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Champaran in eastern India, killing at least six people in the past month, including a woman and her 8-year-old son on Saturday.

Before the two latest kills, authorities designated the tiger, reportedly a male aged three or four, as a "man-eater", meaning it could be shot.

Earlier attempts to tranquillise the animal failed.

"Two teams went into the forest on two elephants on Saturday afternoon and the third one waited where we thought the tiger would exit - and we fired five rounds to kill it there," local police chief Kiran Kumar said.

It took about six hours for the team of eight shooters and about 200 forest department officials to complete the operation.

Officials said large sugarcane fields made it easy for the tiger to stay hidden and attack local villagers and their livestock.

The victims included a 12-year-old girl dragged from her bed on Wednesday night, reports said.

Locals in the impoverished villages around the reserve in Bihar state stopped going out in the evening after the tiger maimed a teenager in May.

Locals celebrated after the animal was shot.

"It was a sleepless night for the whole village," villager Paltu Mahato told Hindustan Times. "We kept beating tin containers to shoo away the tiger if it was hiding near our village."

Man-animal conflict

Conservationists blame the rapid expansion of human settlements around forests and key wildlife corridors for animals like elephants and tigers for an increase in man-animal conflict in parts of India.

About 225 people were killed in tiger attacks between 2014 and 2019 in India, government figures show.

More than 200 tigers were killed by poachers or electrocution between 2012 and 2018, the data showed.

India is home to about 70 per cent of the world's tigers. The tiger population was estimated at 2,967 in 2018.

Updated: October 09, 2022, 12:00 PM