Forest rangers in the Indian state of Maharashtra say they shot dead a tiger blamed for killing seven people since March. Three teams of officials organized on Tuesday evening to track the endangered animal through a forest in Chandrapur.
"The growing incidents of man-animal conflict in the area have put a lot of pressure on the [forest] department," Maharashtra forest chief Sarjan Bhagat told BBC Hindi. "Considering the safety of people, orders to shoot the animal were issued."
Tiger attacks have been on the rise in India, with the endangered animals having killed at least 17 people so far this year.
The increase in tiger attacks is linked to human encroachment on the animals' already limited resources and habitat, with many Indians moving onto reserve lands or poaching the big cats. This encroachment indirectly leads to orders to kill tigers—officials say tigers rarely attack humans without reason, and habitat loss forces human contact when tigers leave their forests to look for food. Only 11 percent of Indian tigers' natural habitat remains.
The order to shoot tigers dead is itself significant: 100,000 tigers roamed India 100 years ago, but only 1,700 wild tigers live there today. Indian officials report killing only two other "man-eating" tigers in Chandrapur, an area that's home to at least 100 tigers, since 2007, with both killings occurring that year.