PATNA, India, March 24 (UPI) -- The tiger population in India's Buhar state has fallen sharply in recent years, and officials are at a loss to explain why.
The Times of India said Saturday that the number of tigers in the Valmiki Tiger Project reserve has dropped by 23 big cats to an estimated population of just 33 in the past five years for reasons that remain unknown.
It is not known if the tigers died or merely relocated outside the reserve.
The Times said there has been increasing human encroachment on the remote reserve by villagers grazing cattle, felling trees and using paths through the forest.
Poaching is also a concern since the staff of the reserve doesn't carry weapons.