Tiger on the prowl at Indian university campus
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An Indian university has postponed its annual tech festival and urged students to stay indoors after dark because of a tiger on the prowl around campus, an official and local reports said Monday.
The endangered big cat has already killed two stray cows, and about 50 forest department officials have been working around the clock to capture and move it back to an adjoining forest area where it came from.
"We have also set up 10 camera traps to track its movement, as well as a cage, and are waiting. But the tiger hasn't come out," local forest officer Alok Pathak told AFP.
Pathak said the animal was one of 12 tigers living in forests around Bhopal, capital of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.
The striped marauder has been on the move around the sprawling campus, which includes "about 400 acres of forest land with lots of water, good cover, and stray cattle as food, since last Monday", Pathak added.
The forest department has said the campus is safe during daytime for classes but urged everyone "to not venture out alone -- on cycle or foot -- after sunset".
The uninvited creature has forced the university to postpone its annual technology festival -- which was to start on Saturday with an attendance of around 10,000 students from all over India.
"Can you imagine! A tech fest being rescheduled because of a tiger?" one student told The Times of India. "But we understand this is the only way out. We cannot take chances with a tiger loose on the campus."
The newspaper's report added that classes had been moved online for two days last week before the forest department ruled that daytime classes were safe.
Indian authorities, in a major operation involving 200 people, on Saturday shot dead another tiger that had killed at least nine people in the eastern state of Bihar.
Conservationists blame the rapid expansion of human settlements around forests and key wildlife corridors for an increase in human-animal conflict in parts of India.
Nearly 225 people were killed in tiger attacks between 2014 and 2019 in India, according to government figures.