Two arrested in India for tiger cubs death
Page last updated at 07:06 GMT, Tuesday, 9 March 2010
Two villagers have been arrested for allegedly killing two tiger cubs at the Ranthambhore national park in the north-west Indian state of Rajasthan.
Wildlife officials said the men poisoned the cubs in revenge for poaching their cattle.
The carcasses of the cubs were found in the park on Sunday.
Poaching and loss of habitat in India have decimated tiger numbers which are estimated to have fallen from 40,000 to about 1,400 in the past 100 years.
A major awareness campaign has been launched to halt the steep decline in tiger numbers in India.
"These villagers poisoned the cubs to take revenge as the animals had poached their cattle," said Mr RS Shekhawat, deputy field director of Ranthambore tiger reserve.
Forest officials said the villagers fed pesticide to a goat. The cubs killed the goat and were poisoned when they ate its meat.
Ranthambore covers several hundred square kilometres of dry deciduous forests sprawling over undulating terrain.
According to a 2009 census, there were about 40 tigers in and around the park, which is in Sawaimadhopur district of Rajasthan.
Nearly 100 villages surround the park, and the more the tiger population grows the more they are likely to come into conflict with humans, observers say.
Ranthambhore is a major tourist attraction, drawing about 200,000 people from India and abroad every year.