Bihar deploys 60-member team to trap tigress after she kills three

Patna: A 60-member team of forest officials is working overtime to track and trap a tigress after she killed three people and injured six others in the past week in Bihar. Panic-stricken villagers have stopped going out of their homes and even prevented their children from attending schools fearing an attack from the tigress.

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Forest department officials said the 13-year-old tigress strayed out of the Valmiki Tiger Reserve, the only tiger reserve in the state, around a fortnight ago in search of food as she had grown old and was unable to hunt wild animals.

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“We have engaged seven teams of forest officials to catch the tigress. The teams are armed with tranquiliser guns and are conducting extensive searches to track her movements,” principal secretary for environment, forests and climate change department Dipak Kumar Singh told the media on Tuesday. The teams have been on the trail of the killer tigress for the past four days.

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Conservator of forest wildlife Surendra Singh said the tigress was attacking humans as is battling hunger and is also wounded after being hit by spear-like weapons by local villagers. Local divisional forest officer Ambrish Kumar Mall said they were trying to track the big cat using footage from camera traps as well as pug marks.

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Last week, the tigress killed three people and injured six others, including a forest guard. Among those killed were 55-year-old Akaloo Mahto, his wife Rekho Devi, 50, and Chatra Kumari Devi, 60. Mahato and his wife had been guarding their crops in the fields when the tigress attacked them.

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Panic-stricken villagers have now virtually shut themselves in their homes and are refusing to go to the fields.

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Forest officials have advised the villagers not to venture out of their homes and be on alert. The reserve, which is spread over 899 square kilometres near the Indo-Nepal border in the West Champaran district, is home to 37 tigers. It has been ranked the fifth best tiger reserve in India.

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