A Royal Bengal tiger splashes into a pond at the Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad on April 23, 2010.
Credit: Noah SEELAM

Indian authorities have launched an investigation after poachers broke into a zoo, in the north-eastern Arunachal Pradesh state, and killed a Royal Bengal tiger, the Hindustan Times reported.

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Zoo keepers said the female tiger – who was six years old and had been born in the zoo – was attacked while she was in her enclosure, in Itanagar zoo, between 8 and 10pm local time on Monday night.

It is understood the poachers first shot the animal, before cutting her into pieces – though the BBC reported that security guards, who'd been eating dinner at the time of the break-in, arrived before the poachers had a chance to make off with the body parts.

The state's chief conservator of forest, BS Sajwan, told local media:

"The tigress had bullet injuries and most of its body parts were intact. But we are taking action against those who should have been around to prevent the incident."

Following the incident there are now only five tigers left at Itanagar zoo, which was established in 1987. 

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