The Royal Bengal tiger, spotted on several occasions in forests of West Bengal's Jhargram, West Midnapore and Bankura districts since early March this year, was on Friday found dead in the state's Lalgarh forest, an official said.
The big cat, which was first spotted on March 2 by a camera trapping exercise in the forest of Lalgarh, formerly a Maoist belt, had escaped several attempts by forests officials to catch it.
"The tiger was found dead today (Friday). The reason of the death is not yet confirmed. It could be confirmed after the autopsy," Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Wildlife & Chief Wildlife Warden, West Bengal, Ravi Kant Sinha told IANS.
According to local people, several injury marks were found on dead tiger.
"It is an unfortunate incident. Forest officials have put best efforts to catch it but they failed. It is obviously a failure. Why could it (tiger) not be captured despite several efforts made by officials?," State Wildlife Board Member Biswajit Roychowdhury told IANS.
Following the reports of killing of cattle, the state Forest Department installed several cameras to confirm the presence of the tiger in the forests and spotted it in one of them installed in the Lalgarh forest, which was not seen as suitable tiger habitat.
Since then, several attempts were made to catch it including by laying traps in several locations in the forests and by using drones for searching in forests, but efforts went in vain. Recently, the tiger was caught in a net laid by the officials, but managed to escape.
People living in the surrounding areas were terrorised by the presence of the tiger.
Forest officials had earlier said that the tiger might have sneaked into the forest from Simlipal reserve in neighbouring Odisha.
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