A tiger is giving sleepless nights to villagers in Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh. Several teams of forest officials and the district administration have been chasing the adult animal around the central part of the district, adjacent to NH-6, for the last two days but to no avail.

In September 2011, a tiger was beaten to death by villagers in the Bakhru Tola area of Rajnandgaon.

To avoid a recurrence of the incident, the police, paramilitary and forest officials rushed to the chase “as fast as they could” this time, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Abhay Kumar Shrivastav told The Hindu.

The tiger — presumably around eight feet from head to tail — entered Dumurdih village in Dongargarh block, adjacent to the Maharashtra border, a couple of days ago. “Pugmarks were first noticed on February 5 in Chabuknala village, about 11 km east of Dumurdih. Over the week it slowly moved to the more populated Dumurdih area and was sighted in adjoining villages… I have a feeling it has come from Salhewara forest in the north,” Mr. Shrivastav said.

While a massive hunt was launched by villagers, with some of them reportedly carrying arms, the feline entered a reservoir and spent the night there.

In the morning, it could not be located and, according to officials, it has entered the Tinkapar forest even closer to the Maharashtra border.

“We have instructed the villagers to stay put at home and not to disturb the tiger even if it is sighted. Unruly mobs create more trouble,” said Mr. Shrivastav.

Villagers, however, are not happy with the directive. “What are we supposed to do if it attacks our feeble mud houses? These days the government is more worried about tigers than tribals,” said 73-year-old Sukru Ram over the phone.