An investigation has been launched in India after a tigress blamed for injuring a number of villagers was clubbed to death in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
The killing was compared to a “lynching” by Indian media and online commentators after news channels aired footage of over 40 villagers beating the tiger to death with sticks and clubs.
Forestry Department officials said they tried to intervene and remove the animal from the game reserve that bordered the village in Uttar Pradesh but rangers were also set upon by the mob and had to flee for their lives.
Villagers said the tiger had attacked people working in the fields – a claim disputed by forestry officials.
The incident took place last week after a child “suddenly went near the tigress without any reason,” said Naveen Khandelwal, Divisional Forest Officer at the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve.
When the youth raised a cry, villagers rushed to save him. Around 40 people entered the jungle and assaulted the tigress, leaving it seriously injured, said Mr Khandelwal.
A post-mortem conducted by wildlife experts concluded that the tigress died “due to shock” as a result of blood hemorrhage, broken bones and numerous injuries with sharp and blunt objects, according to local media.