Bengaluru: The killer tiger in Karnataka’s Bandipur reserve forest remained elusive even a day after a massive hunt was launched to trace and capture it alive, an official said on Thursday.

“We have resumed the search earlier in the day for the killer tiger which remains at large in its reserve area where it may be hiding. Efforts are on to sight and trap it,” state’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Sanjay Mohan told IANS here.

Clarifying that there is no written or oral order to shoot the feline for killing two persons, including an octogenarian on Tuesday, Mohan said the hunt was only to trace and capture alive and not shoot it.

“There is no order or notice to shoot the tiger but only capture it. We have formed five more teams with a vet each to trap the big cat,” he said.

The Bandipur tiger reserve, a popular tourist destination in southern India, is an 872 square km dense forest in Chamarajanagar district on the border with Tamil Nadu. It is about 220 km southwest of Bengaluru.

The search operation is being conducted by the forest guards as per the guidelines of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

“The guidelines mandate the standard operating procedures on how to carry out a tiger capture operation. The search operation is underway in compliance with the NTCA guidelines,” Mohan said.

On the presence of the Hyderabad-based father-and-son hunter duo Nawab Shafat Ali Khan and Asgar Ali at the search spot, Mohan said they came to the place on their own after hearing about the tiger mauling 80-year-old Shivappa to death when he was returning home after tending to his cattle in the nearby village.

“The Hyderabadi hunters came to the Bandipur forest uninvited. As we did not invite them, they left after being asked to leave,” claimed Mohan.

Noting that the department had expert veterinary doctors to conduct the tiger trapping without the help of hunters, Mohan said three more elephants were engaged in the search with about 200 camera traps.

“We are also using a drone to fortify the search in the demarcated area to spot the tiger, which must be of 4-6 years old,” said Mohan.

The drone, however, was not effective in sighting the tiger, which may be resting under a canopy of trees or in a shadowed place.

Shivappa is the second victim of the big cat, which turned a man-eater two months ago when it claimed its first victim, identified as Shivamadaiah, in the same area in mid-September when he was returning to his village with two bullocks from another village.

Once the tiger is captured, it will be shifted to the Mysore Rehabilitation Centre, Mohan said.