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A hunt is under way to kill or capture a “man-eating” tiger believed to have killed four people in central India.

A forestry official confirmed armed park rangers were searching for the two-year-old female, originally captured in July after it killed two villagers and injured four others in Brahmapuri, Maharashtra.

It was subsequently released into the nearby Bor Wildlife Sanctuary, but it attacked and killed another two people.

The latest victim of the tigress, named Kala, was a woman who died this week.

The field director of Pench Tiger Reserve, near Bor, said a local court had approved a shoot-to-kill order against the animal.

Rishikesh Ranjan said: “She has killed four people and injured four others. We can shoot her but we would prefer to capture and tranquillise her.”

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He said the tiger was being tracked using GPS and that there was increased urgency to deal with the animal as it was “spreading panic amongst villagers”.

Mr Ranjan added: “In her last killing she consumed a major chunk of the victim’s body.”

Some experts believe the animals can develop a taste for human flesh once they have attacked, although they generally do not attack humans.

More than half of the world’s tigers can be found in India, with more than 2,000 roaming reserves, according to the last count in 2014.

Dozens die each year as they are targeted by poachers. Some are thought to be killed in man-animal conflicts, which activists say can happen when humans encroach on tiger territory.

Forest guards shot dead another man-eating tiger in the north of country in October last year.

It was thought to have killed three people, including a woman outside the Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand.

Villagers celebrated the death by parading with the dead animal.

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