Motorcyclists in India escape death after tiger chase

It was possibly the scariest ride of their lives -- a tiger hot on their heels as they travelled near a national park in Kerala, India.

The big cat dashed out of the forest and chased after two men riding a motorcycle on the road.

The pair were officials from the forest department, which has been recently patrolling the area after receiving a tip-off of a tiger sighting, the Hindustan Times reported.

Find the animal they did -- it was running right after their vehicle.

Fortunately, the tiger did not continue with the pursuit and leapt into the surrounding woodwork.

The men lived to tell the tale and had their close encounter with the big cat recorded on the mobile phone of the pillion rider.

Since the clip was posted on the Facebook page Forests and Wildlife Protection Society on June 28, it has been viewed over 760,000 times and attracted over 1,000 comments.

The national park is home to about 100 tigers -- an endangered species with an estimated population of 3,900 around the world, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

While they're not known for high-speed chases like cheetahs (100kmh), tigers are capable of running at 65kmh over short distances.

With a loss of habitat, such close encounters with territorial big cats have become increasingly common.

Earlier this year, a tiger in the neighbouring state of Karnataka mauled three people to death.

The animal was believed to have attacked humans because it was injured, a forest conservator told Indian media.

It was subsequently captured and relocated to a zoo.

lamminlee@asiaone.com