More tigers have been killed in India in the first four months of this year than the whole of 2015, showing a spurt in demand for their body parts and poaching incidents, a wildlife official said Friday.
Twenty-eight of the endangered big cats have been poached so far this year, three more than last year, said Tito Joseph, programme manager at Delhi-based Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI).
The WPSI released a report containing the latest tiger death numbers Thursday.
Joseph said demand for tiger body parts had apparently increased as had enforcement which led to more deaths being reported.
At this rate, the tiger killings this year could surpass the figures from 2013 - the worst year for the tigers in India in a decade, when 42 cats were killed.
India has roughly 50 per cent of the world's tigers, with an estimated population of 2,226 in its reserves.
Neighbouring China has traditionally been the largest market for tiger parts, with crushed tiger bone being widely used in traditional Chinese medicine.
A report by the World Wildlife Fund and the Global Tiger Forum released recently said the global tiger population had increased for the first time in 100 years to an estimated 3,890.
Wildlife officials have stressed strong conservation plans, noting that though several countries registered an increase in tiger population, others particularly in South-East Asia were at an imminent risk of losing their tigers.