Indian police have arrested four people after a mob of villagers brutally beat to death a tiger that had attacked local people.

Mobile phone footage of the incident went viral on social media, and officials said one of nine people injured by the animal earlier had died in hospital.

It is the latest in a growing number of animal-human encounters in India, which experts blame on shrinking habitats and food shortages for wildlife.

The tiger attacked people after straying out of the Pilibhit tiger reserve in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, district magistrate Vaibhav Srivastava told AFP.

Dozens of armed people surrounded the animal after it entered their village, chased it and bludgeoned it to death with wooden batons and spears, he said.

Thirty-three people were wanted over the killing of the tiger and four had been arrested so far, the magistrate added, saying the villagers were scared and angry after the attacks on humans.

The phone video showed villagers battering the animal as it lay nearly motionless on the ground.

Its corpse was cremated so the animal’s organs did not get into the hands of smugglers, officials said.

About 30 people were killed by tigers in India in 2018, and more than 60 tigers have died or been killed so far this year across the country.

In one case last month, a tiger and two cubs died after villagers poisoned the carcass of a cow the animals had hunted a day earlier.

Tigers were close to extinction in India a few years ago due to poaching. But the country is now home to more than half the world’s tiger population with more than 2,220 found in reserves in a 2014 census.

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The global tiger population has been reduced from about 100,000 at the start of the 20th century to barely 4,000, according to the World Wildlife Fund.



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