Man-Eating Tiger Shot Dead After Killing At Least Nine People in Rampage

A man-eating tiger in India has been shot dead after it killed up to nine people in a rampage.

Since May, the tiger prowled the Champaran region in Bihar state and mauled its victims. According to the BBC, the tiger killed at least nine people. This number has not yet been confirmed by authorities. And per The Hindustan Times, the animal killed six people within one month.

The predator tyrannized communities close to the Valmiki Tiger Reserve and was dubbed a 'man-eater,' and a danger to human life, allowing authorities to conduct a search party for the animal involving 200 officials and two elephants.

The local forest department initiated searches for the animal on a 'shoot at sight order.'

India is home to 80 percent of the world's tigers. They are incredibly strong animals but rarely hurt humans. However, human and wildlife conflict has increased in India over recent years. This can be attributed to several factors, including human habitats expanding and forcing wildlife into populated areas.

The final hunt for this particular man-eating tiger took place the day after, when the animal killed a mother and child, said Nesamani K, director of Valmiki Tiger Reserve, per the BBC.

Tiger
A stock photo shows a tiger. A man-eating tiger has recently been shot in India. TonyBaggett/Getty

Once the animal was located, authorities were unable to tranquilize it. It displayed a complete lack of fear of the humans and was bold in approaching them, even when surrounded.

The tiger was finally shot at around 3 p.m. on October 8, the BBC reported. The tiger was said to be a 3-year-old male.

An autopsy is currently underway.

Kota Ullas Karanth, an India-based conservation zoologist and tiger expert, told Newsweek that most tigers fear humans and avoid them. But there are occasional exceptions. In his opinion, man-eating tigers like this should be shot immediately.

"During my field research of 30 years, I have seen them on foot at close quarters and they have always slunk away. However, specific individual tigers show aberrant behavior, of losing this natural fear, and become persistent predators on humans whenever there is an opportunity. These specific types of animals are colloquially called man-eaters," Karanth said. "This is very different from tigers cornered by mobs, or seriously injured, attacking humans in self-defense."

These tigers are sometimes sub-adults or old animals "past their prime," and can sometimes be evicted by the wider population.

These subadults are not always fully skilled at hunting and are often injured or starving animals, Karanth said. While most die, a small fraction can lose their fear of humans and become man-eaters.

According to Karanth, allowing man-eating tigers to live can, in turn, cause humans to resent conservation and reserves as a whole, as they will only continue to kill.

"Misguided tiger lovers, in urban areas safely, pressurize the government to 'safely capture' such tigers. The problem is tranquilizing such elusive tigers is almost technically impossible under the elaborate protocols [...] As a result, these tigers continue to rampage, killing more and more humans, turning local people hostile to conservation. Finally when social tensions ratchet up, these tigers are killed. Even if they are caught, they do not adapt well to captivity and there are no places where man-eaters can be 'rehabilitated' (sort of a club-med for old tigers) as urban tiger l lovers seek.

While it can happen, situations such as this are incredibly rare.

Tara Pirie, a zoologist and big cat expert at the University of Surrey in the U.K., told Newsweek it is hard to know just what the tigers' motivations were. Pirie said it could have been triggered by a lack of food, or a medical issue that prevented it from seeking natural prey.

"It is not clear if there was any provocation prior to the attacks either, perhaps the tiger was already known in the area? It could be the animal has a medical condition or is injured perhaps from a previous fight with a tiger which could make it more irritable and therefore become more aggressive," Pirie said. "Perhaps the first attack could have been through an accidental encounter and the other attacks were a result of retaliation for the first encounter."