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India: Curfew after deadly tiger attacks

Hundreds of villagers in northern India were ordered to stay trapped in their homes after sunset on Monday after two people were killed in attacks by one or more tigers, authorities said.

Uttarakhand state authorities have decreed a curfew between 7pm and 6am in two districts, as schools are also closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

An official said the first fatal attack took place on Thursday and the second on Sunday, but it was unclear whether they were the work of a single tiger or two different animals.

“Our armed men are at the scene,” guard Swapnil Anirudh told AFP. He added, “There is little wild prey in this area, and humans and livestock are easy prey.”

At least 108 people were killed by tigers in India between 2019 and mid-2021, according to official figures released last year.

In 2022, a tiger dubbed the “Champaran Man Eater” is shot down by police and at least nine people are killed in the east of the country.

The population of wild tigers in India is estimated to be around 3,200 individuals, or 75% of the total number in the world.

In 1900, more than 100,000 tigers lived on the planet, but that number dropped to 3,200 in 2010 before rising again. Currently, the rapid expansion of the animal population, coupled with the loss of its natural habitat due to urbanization, has led to an increase in attacks in recent years.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), tigers have lost more than 93% of their historical range in the past 100 years, and they only survive in 13 countries.

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