PILIBHIT: A partially eaten body of a 65-year-old villager in Mala range of Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR) was found on Saturday.
The deceased, identified as Phool Chand of Baijunagar village under Gajraula police station, had gone missing after he went to his sugarcane field on Friday afternoon.
Field forest force and police have recovered the body around 400 meters deep into the core forest area.
Deputy Director of PTR Naveen Khandelwal said forest officials are yet to confirm whether the man had intruded into the core forest area where he was mauled by some wild carnivore or his body was dumped in the jungle by some criminals who killed him and it was eaten by the animals.
However, the deceased's nephew, Jeevan Lal claimed that he and other villagers had seen a tigress and two cubs eating the body.
The autopsy report is awaited, the official said.
Makhan Lal, deceased's son, alleged that the tigress along with its cubs had been moving about in the agricultural area, adjoining Garha forest beat for a couple of months but the forest officials had not taken any action in the matter.
He claimed that his father was killed by the tigress and dragged into the jungle, where it was eaten.
Khandelwal said Phool Chand's field was about one kilometre from the PTR but there were no pugmarks or signs of the body being dragged.
He said the Department on humanitarian grounds had arranged for Rs 10,000 through World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) for the bereaved family for performing the last rites.
However, the family was not eligible for compensation as the killing had taken place inside the core forest area.
SHO of Gajraula police station, Naresh Kumar Kashyap, meanwhile, ruled out the possibility of murder since the condition of the body indicated that Phool Chand was killed by any animal.