A massive search operation has been launched by Karnataka forest department to capture a tiger that is believed to have killed two men near the Bandipur Tiger Reserve.
The tiger killed a villager from Chowdanahalli village near the reserve on Tuesday, days after another man was found dead with injury marks.
The forest department has said that it will try to tranquillise and capture the tiger alive within 48 hours, failing which it would be shot dead. It also appealed to the villagers to cooperate with the officials and not hamper efforts to capture the animal.
"In such cases prohibitory orders should be enforced to stop the gathering of people. Forest officials come under pressure," Praveen Bhargav, Trustee, Wildlife First, told NDTV.
Mr Bhargav also expressed concern about reports that private hunters have been hired by forest officials for the purpose. "We have learnt there is a move to involve hunters to track and shoot the tiger. This order must be immediately withdrawn. If the tiger has to be captured, it must be done by Forest Department persons or by people from official agencies," he said.
He added,"It is also not confirmed that the animal is a maneater. The problem animal has to be identified and removed - but the allegation that it is a maneater is not confirmed."
Bandipur is part of a forest belt that is home to the highest number of tigers in the world. Conservation has led to an increase in the number of the territorial big cats - which could lead to the danger of some of the tigers moving to areas with human habitation. There are many villagers surrounding the Bandipur reserve and villages often take their livestock into the forest area for grazing.