The hillocks dotting the coal hub of Chandrapur are a green oasis in the central Indian region pockmarked with coal mines, where even rain puddles are black and a coal-powered thermal power plant belches smoke into the sky.

Yet locals live in fear of these hills — dunes formed with the sand removed from coal mines and covered by a blanket of green — as they have created a new habitat for tigers and other wild animals responsible for a string of devastating attacks.

Coal mining is more commonly criticized by environmentalists for polluting air and water, degrading landscapes and fueling climate change than for creating new wildlife habitats.