India man-eating tigress killed after huge hunt

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A tiger in a national park in India

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India is home to 60% of the world’s tigers

A tiger in India who is said to have killed 13 people has herself been killed after a major hunt, officials say.

The six-year-old tigress had evaded capture in the jungles of the western state of Maharashtra for two years.

Last month wildlife officials deployed perfume in a bid to lure the animal.

Activists had campaigned to save the tiger, but India’s Supreme Court said it would not interfere if forest rangers were forced to shoot it.

Senior wildlife official Sunil Limaye has confirmed to the BBC that the tigress has been killed.

In August the tigress and her two nine-month-old cubs killed three people in the area around the town of Pandharkawada in Yavatmal district and left more than 5,000 residents fearing for their lives.

Farmers and graziers were told to return early from the fields and forest, venture out only in groups, and not defecate in the open fields, a common practice in the villages.

Meanwhile the hunt for the tiger, known as T-1, included more than 100 camera traps, bait in the form of horses and goats tied to trees, round-the-clock surveillance from treetop platforms and armed patrols.

Wildlife officials also brought in bottles of Obsession for Men by Calvin Klein, which contains a pheromone called civetone, after an experiment in the US suggested that it could be used to attract jaguars.

T-1 is believed to have killed 10 people in 20 months since 2016 before killing three more in August.

DNA tests on swabs from tiger saliva from the wounds of seven of the 13 victims showed that five of them were inflicted by a female tiger.

Many of the bodies were decapitated as she dragged her prey away. She appears to have tasted human flesh as at least one victim was found with his leg torn off.

The BBC’s Soutik Biswas says T-1 may have been attacking humans after coming across them as they grazed cattle in the forest.

The villagers are banned by the government from killing their cattle and have been taking them into the forest because there is little fodder close to their homes, our correspondent says.

With more than 2,200 big cats, India is home to 60% of the world’s tigers. There are more than 200 in Maharashtra, but only a third of them live in the state’s 60 protected areas, including sanctuaries, natural parks and tiger reserves.

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