South Asia

Indian officials to investigate spate of big cat deaths

A tiger cub who died at the Indian national park
Image caption Some of the cats died after reportedly consuming stale food

The deaths of three tigers and two lions in less than a week has prompted an investigation by national park authorities in India.

Two tigers have died of "bacterial infection", while a third tiger and two lions died of old age at Bennerghatta national park, a wildlife official said.

The park has been disinfected and staff asked to maintain hygiene, he said.

There are over 1,400 tigers and several hundred lions in the wild in India.

Two lions and a Siberian tiger died first at the 25,000-acre park located near the southern city of Bangalore. Wildlife officials attributed their deaths to old age.

But the deaths of a four-year-old tigress and a three-month-old cub were caused by food and water-borne bacteria, officials said.

The park, a popular tourist destination, has 47 tigers and nine lions.

It is home to many endangered animals and considered an important corridor for elephants in southern India.

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