TIGER ON THE LOOSE! Prowling, man-eating tiger claims tenth victim in India
Given the name 'Mysterious Queen,' wild beast has preyed upon victims in India's northeast states
A 440-pound tigress is striking fear in the heart of India's northeast states. Given the name of the "Mysterious Queen," the wild beast has killed ten people since late last year. Since her first victim on December 29, hunters have yet to take down the voracious beast.
In the six weeks since killing her first victim, a 21-year-old man who was to be married the following day, the beast's trail of death has stretched nearly 80 miles.
Hunters had cornered the big cat the day before, but it failed to fall for a trap baited with a live cow.
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In the six weeks since killing her first victim, a 21-year-old man who was to be married the following day, the beast's trail of death has stretched nearly 80 miles. Vicious attacks have come between every two to 16 days.
The tigress is believed to have wandered from its home in the Corbett Tiger Preserve, which was established in the 1930s to safeguard endangered Bengal tigers.
One expert surmised it might be attacking humans because it is simply hungry. "The animal has started attacking humans because it is not getting its natural prey," Rupek De, chief wildlife warden of Uttar Pradesh says.
India's tigers, only total 1,706, a mere fraction of the 45,000 that once prowled the nation's forested hillsides in the early 1900s, are an endangered species.
Fueled by Asia's black market, where tiger body parts are in high demand for use in traditional medicine, more than 40 tigers were poached last year in India, the most since 2005.
According to a recently published study, 98 percent of people living in the Terai Arc Landscape, which is a 2,700-square-mile swath of mountainous terrain that includes the Corbett Tiger Preserve, would be willing to allow the government to pay for their families to be relocated to more urban areas.
With this relocation, fewer people would be in the proximity of tigers, likely decreasing the opportunities for more deadly encounters. The tigers' historical range, no longer touched by the heavy hand of human pastoral living then would be allowed to return to a habitat friendlier to tigers.
Mysterious Queen, however, is fated to a tragic end when she eventually will be killed by hunters.
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