'Man-eater of Champaran' shot dead

Police in Bihar shot dead a tiger, dubbed the "Man-eater of Champaran", that killed at least nine people.

The major operation on Sunday involved 200 people, including trackers on elephants.

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

Even before the two latest kills last Saturday, authorities had declared the tiger - reportedly a male of three or four years old - as a "man-eater". This means the tiger could be shot on sight.

Earlier attempts to tranquillise the animal had failed.

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

He added that with local villagers creating a racket by beating on tin containers, it took the team of eight shooters and about 200 forest department officials six hours to complete the operation.

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

Victims included a 12-year-old girl dragged from her bed on Oct 5 night, reports said.

Locals in the impoverished villages around the reserve in Bihar stopped going out in the evening after the tiger's first attack maimed a teenager in May.

"Despite the lurking fear of tiger, it was not possible for us to confine ourselves in our homes as we needed to feed our cattle," villager Ram Kisun Yadav told Hindustan Times.

Locals celebrated after the animal was finally shot.

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

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

About 225 people were killed in tiger attacks between 2014 and 2019 in India, according to government figures. More than 200 tigers were killed by poachers or electrocution between 2012 and 2018.

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

AFP

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