NEW DELHI: A tiger with signs of abnormality was declared a man-eater on Thursday after it killed and ate its fifth prey -- a sleeping person -- in Pilibhit district of Uttar Pradesh.
Uttar Pradesh officials now involved in tracking the man-eater said that their preference is to tranquilise and cage the tiger rather than kill it.
"The tiger has been identified as a sub-adult with some deformity or abnormality. It is not a good hunter, killed people around the fields outside the core forest area and ate only soft tissues without even touching the hard flesh," Conservator of Forests V.K. Singh of Pilibhit district told IANS.
It is still unclear if the tiger is a male or female, he added.
According to Singh, who is leading the operation, it seems that the tiger has some sort of infection in mouth and is acting abnormally. Singh pointed out that big cat risked killing a man rather than a goat tied nearby and did not attempt hunting any deer.
Officials said the tiger made its first recorded kill on November 27, followed by December 11, 2016, and January 11, 2017.
The feline was officially declared a man-eater by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), Uttar Pradesh, after it killed two persons in a short span between February 5 and 7 in a village near Puranpur town of Pilibhit district.
According to local people, the tiger dragged a farmer sleeping inside the mosquito-net near the fields.
"All the killings were done over a stretch of eight to 12 km," Singh said.
Meanwhile, four elephants from the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve in Lakhimpur-Kheri district have reached the Barahi Forest Range of the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve on Thursday for search-and-catch operation.
"Three veterinarians from Lucknow Zoo are here to help tranquilise the tiger. We will try to capture and only opt for killing in an extreme event," Singh said.
The man-animal conflict cases are on rise in the Terai region, including areas of Pilibhit, Lakhimpur-Kheri and Bahraich districts, mostly due to encroachment and settlements in and around the forest areas.