Feline fear continues to haunt villagers in Uttar Pradesh after a tiger killed a man near a forest in Shahjahanpur district - the eighth case of human-killing by the big cat in the state's terai area since May.
Gopal Singh, 30, was killed late Thursday by the tiger near the Khutar range of Shahjahanpur forest division.
Another youth, Pratap Singh, was killed in a tiger attack in the same forest area Monday.
The remaining six human-killings took place in the Deoria forest range in Pilibhit, some 250 km from here.
'Investigations reveal that Gopal and Pratap were killed by the same tiger. Pugmarks found at the sites indicate it's a male tiger,' Divisional Forest Officer P.P. Singh told IANS on phone from Shahjahanpur, some 150 km from here.
Officials in Shahjahanpur have now contacted their counterparts in Pilibhit as they believe it could be the same male tiger that has killed six people in Pilibhit's Deoria forest range since May.
In order to ascertain it scientifically, the hair of the tiger collected from the sites in Shahjahanpur have been sent to the officials in Pilibhit who would do a DNA analysis.
'There's a strong possibility that the tiger that had claimed six lives in the jungles of Pilibhit lost its way and has now reached the forest area of Shahjahanpur,' Pilibhit Divisional Forest Officer V.K. Singh said over phone.
'The Khutar forest range of Shahjahanpur and the Deoria forest range are in continuation. In both the ranges, presence of tiger is not normally reported,' he said.
'But it could be possible that the tiger moved into the Pilibhit jungles and then to the adjoining forest area in Shahjahanpur,' he added.
Asked why the tiger was not branded as a man-eater after it killed six people in Pilibhit, V.K. Singh said: 'In all such cases, humans went inside the forest areas and the feline did not attack by coming out of the forest.'
The forest officials in both Shahjahanpur and Pilibhit districts have issued an advisory to the villagers not to venture out alone late in the evening.
'Forest officials are camping in different villages of Shahjahanpur to allay the fear of the locals. We are making every effort to trap the tiger,' P.P. Singh said.
As many as 12 pairs of cameras have also been installed in the Khutar range in order to spot the tiger.