File photo.
© AFP
File photo.
A 60-year-old woman was killed in a tiger attack on Saturday afternoon at a field near Andharwadi village in Pandharkawada, Yavatmal district in Maharashtra.

Forest officials said a tiger had been moving across villages Andharwadi, Koparmandvi, Vasari, and Kobai in the Pandharkawada Forest Reserve for the last 10 days and was also spotted at the site of the attack after Saturday's incident.

This is the second tiger attack and first death reported from the area and a committee empowered to decide on the tiger's capture (as per National Tiger Conservation Authority guidelines) will be sending its recommendations to senior forest officials by Sunday.

According to the forest department, around 1.30 pm Saturday, Laxmibai Bhimrao Dadanje, resident of Andharwadi was attacked and killed by a tiger at a field located between Patanbori and Andharwadi villages.

"The tiger sat at the area, just adjoining the Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, after the kill for a long time before locals could retrieve the body and send it for a post mortem to a district hospital in Pandharkawada. During the first week of September, a similar attack was reported nearby where a farmer luckily escaped with injuries," said a forest official.

"Saturday's incident has sparked fear in both villages. Residents have been asked to be vigilant," he added.

Subhash Dumare, assistant conservator of forest (Pandharkawada) said, "We have collected scat and hair samples of the tiger and sent it for DNA analysis to identify the gender and age of the animal."

Following the first attack, forest minister Sanjay Rathore had directed necessary measures that were needed to curb further incidents. "We have deployed camera traps, eight Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) persons from Melghat Tiger Reserve, rapid rescue units, and staff from three ranges at the site," said SV Ramarao, chief conservator of forest (Yavatmal).

Ramarao said that the committee, empowered to assess whether the tiger should be captured, discussed the matter on Saturday. "Based on the evidence and exact reason they submit for its capture, I will study and forward the proposal to the chief wildlife warden by Sunday for final recommendation," he said.

Pandharkavada forest reserve is the same region where tigress T1 or Avni was killed in 2018 after she was said to have killed 13 people.

There have been 45 human deaths due to wild animal attacks in Maharashtra this year with 27 deaths involving tiger attacks, the forest department said.