A tiger on the loose in northern India killed its tenth victim since its first attack on Dec. 29.
The lone tigress, believed to have escaped Corbett National Park, has been attacking humans due to a lack of its natural prey in the region. This past Saturday, wildlife officials were close to capturing the big cat, but the effort failed when she didn't take the live bait left for her.
According to the most recent census, India is home to approximately 1,706 tigers — that's half the Earth's tiger population left in the wild and only a small fraction of about 45,000 that used to inhabit India a century ago.
Only 1,706 tigers remain in the wild in India (Photo Credit: iStock/Thinkstock)
Most of the remaining tigers live in wildlife reserves designated by the government. However, unregulated tourism and development intruding into the protected lands have impacted the tigers' remaining habitat and availability of natural prey. As a result, tigers have begun to attack human populations — not a natural food source for the cats.
The loose tiger did not however eat her first three victims — officials believe in her initial attacks, she may have been frightened and attacked out of panic. But she has traveled across 150 miles approximately and is believed to be fatiguing from inadequate rest.
About 40 tigers were killed by poachers last year — their body parts remain a highly valued product in Asia.