Tiger on prowl kills teenager, turns man-eater (Lead)

December 23rd, 2008 - 6:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Dec 23 (IANS) A tiger on the prowl for the past one month in Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki district turned man-eater after it killed a teenage boy, an official said Tuesday.The tiger killed a 14-year-old boy in Serai Bilhari village in Barabanki, some 30 Km from the state capital here, early Tuesday, a senior wildlife official told IANS. Local villagers and family members discovered the half-eaten body hours later.

Earlier a massive hunt was launched to capture the animal. Meanwhile, a team of expert shooters rushed to the spot to tranquilize the animal.

A team that had been on its trail for about a week to tranquilize the animal had to give up their chase three days ago after the tiger crossed the Gomti River and hid in thick vegetation.

“Apparently the animal stepped out from the cover in search of food and found an easy prey in the child,” Ajit Narain Singh, senior wildlife research officer, who is leading the team, said.

Earlier the government had sought an explanation from the forest authorities for the delay in capturing the animal. The tiger was last spotted Monday evening in the same village where the incident took place.

Officials believe that the tiger had sneaked out from its habitat in Pilibhit a month ago. The animal crossed Lakhimpur and Shahjahanpur forest ranges before reaching the village.

“It may sound surprising that hundreds of forest officials and employees are unable to catch the tiger,” divisional forest officer (DFO) in Barabanki, A.P. Tripathi, told IANS earlier in the day.

“Problems of varied nature are preventing us from catching the tiger. We will apprise the government about all such problems,” he added.

Forest officials said that the tiger’s behaviour was proving to be a major hurdle in catching the animal.

“Unlike adult tigers, this sub-adult tiger remains indifferent after seeing goats that are normally used as bait for entrapment. The tiger has not even once entered the cage. Considering this, the trapping of the animal is becoming near impossible,” said Tripathi.

“Since the tiger is young the animal does not stare at humans as adult tigers do. Such a stare would have given us ample time to tranquilize the animal,” said Tripathi.

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