The tigress was run over by a tractor snatched from guards by villagers, police said (Representational)
A tigress was beaten to death by villagers in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri district on Sunday after it mauled a man, who died during treatment in hospital. The incident comes days after a controversy erupted over the killing of another tigress, known as Avni, that was believed to have killed 13 people in the last two years in a forest in Maharashtra.
After the attack on the villager, angry villagers marched to the core area of Dudhwa tiger reserve, 210 km from Lucknow, and allegedly beat up forest guards, snatched their tractor and then ran over the 10-year-old tigress when they found her. They also hit the animal with heavy sticks.
The people are residents of a village located deep inside the buffer zone of the protected tiger reserve. Forest department officials say the tigress has never attacked people in the last 10 years.
The forest officials have told the police to take action against the villagers who killed the endangered animal.
The villagers say the animal had been attacking their livestock for two weeks and they were scared of the tigress. They said they had alerted the forest officials about the tigress' menacing behaviour this several times.
The killing of a second tigress in less than a week is likely to raise a debate over the effectiveness of conservation efforts in India.
On Sunday, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi lashed out at the BJP-led Maharashtra government for ordering the "ghastly murder" of tigress Avni, and also promised to take up the matter with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at the earliest.
A report by the National Tiger Conservation Authority estimated tiger population in India at 2,226 after a comprehensive nationwide count in 2014. The authority in collaboration with state forest departments, non-profit groups and the Wildlife Institute of India conducts a national assessment on tigers every four years.