Partly-eaten body of a 28-year-old man was found near the Najibabad forest division in Bijnor district on Saturday. Forest officials suspect that he could have been killed by a tiger as the killing occurred in the same area where a maneater tiger had killed as many as half-a-dozen persons during last winter.
Mohammad Shafi, who belongs to the community of Van Gujjars, had taken out his cattle for grazing in the forest on Friday but did not return until late evening. His family began looking and discovered his partly-eaten body inside the Sahuwala forest range.
The forest officials have started an operation to trace the tiger. They put up a cage in the area on Sunday. Sahuwala forest ranger Brijbihari Lal Sharma said they placed four cameras Saturday night to trap any movement of the tiger but did not get result.
“Family members of Shafi did not allow us to get his autopsy conducted. We could also not find any pugmarks as it has rained in the area. It cannot be said if it is the same maneater as we are still collecting details. It is possible this could be another tiger that has turned maneater,” he said, adding that the people in the area have been asked to remain cautious.
In July, two teenagers were also found killed in the same area of the Najibabad forest division. Sharma said all three killings have taken place about one kilometre inside the forest and this shows that the tiger has not ventured out of the jungle despite turning a maneater.
In January and February earlier this year, forest officials had launched a hunt for the maneater and even brought in the shooters, after it had killed about half-a-dozen people in the area. The tiger had not been traced and the operation was stopped on the account that the tiger had gone to the neighbouring Kalagarh forest in Uttarakhand, part of Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve.