Killer tiger gives the slip

A tiger that is believed to have killed five women since December 15 gave forest department and Gondia Police teams the slip Sunday.

Police commandos fired 25 rounds into a bush where the big cat was seen entering but it managed to jump out to safety and vanished into the wild.

The tiger was seen 10 km away on Monday, at a place where second of the women was killed.

"There were reports of the tiger being sighted at Salebardi where it had killed Muktabai Ganvir on December 24. We moved our teams there. A team spotted the animal near a bush and called others. Police commandos fired 25 rounds, but the animal escaped," divisional forest officer Rama Rao said.

The place is 15 km from the boundary of Navegaon National Park. "The tiger is apparently returning to the place where it first struck," Rao said.

Sunday, the forest department tried to block an area near Bhivkhidki village where the tiger was reported to be hiding. It was the same place where the cat had killed 20-year old Bhagyashri Nevare, its fifth victim, on January 4.

Five teams took position along possible escape routes and baits were placed to attract and localise the animal.

Sometime at night, however, the tiger escaped. An official said, "The tiger was seen jumping energetically by our team. Apparently, it is not hungry."

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