NEW DELHI (AP) - A western Indian state has declared war on animal poaching by sanctioning its forest guards to shoot hunters on sight in an effort to curb rampant attacks against tigers, elephants and other wildlife.
The government in Maharashtra says injuring or killing suspected poachers while policing animal reserves will not be considered a crime.
About half of the world's estimated 3,200 tigers are in dozens of Indian reserves set up since the 1970s. However, illegal poaching remains a serious threat, with tiger parts sought in traditional Chinese medicine fetching high prices on the black market.
According to the Wildlife Protection Society of India, 14 tigers have been killed by poachers so far this year - one more than for all of 2011.
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