Hunters are tracking a man-eating tigress that has killed at least nine people during a 150-mile rampage from a national park in northern India to villages in the Himalayan foothills.
According to forestry officials, the adult tigress may have killed and eaten a 10th victim on Sunday, a 50-year-old farmer who was mauled as he collected firewood in Kalgarh village along the border of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand hill state.
The big cat was chased away by villagers who discovered her eating her victim.
Forestry officials and tiger experts now fear the tigress will not stop killing humans until she is "removed" – either captured or killed.
The tigress strayed from Corbett National Park to begin her six-week killing spree on December 29 when she pounced on a 21-year-old man who had wandered into sugar cane fields in Moradabad district. She claimed a second victim on January 5 and two days later a third, a teenage girl.
Until then, the tigress had not eaten its victims. But over the following days it killed another two villagers, in both cases consuming body parts. It then disappeared into the national park, but emerged 16 days later to kill again.
Belinda Wright, one of India's leading tiger conservationists, said officials had told her the first nine victims had been confirmed as those of a single, breeding tigress.
Kamlesh Kumar, conservator of forest in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh, said he believed the tigress is four years old.