Conservationists have described the shooting as described the shooting as "cold-blooded murder"

Indian hunters have shot dead a tigress that is believed to have killed more than a dozen people over the past two years.

The mother of two 10-month-old cubs was tracked down by Borati forest officials in Maharashtra state after a months-long search.

The search included teams of trackers and armed officials on the backs of elephants using infrared cameras, a paraglider, drones and sniffer dogs to capture the man-eating tigress.

The killing has caused controversy as officials were required by law to attempt to tranquillise and trap the tigress before shooting her.

Principal chief conservator of Forests A.K. Mishra told local media that the team manged to ht her with a dart before she charged them.

He said the team shot her in “self-defence” killing her with one bullet.

However other Indian media reports contradicted this version of events.

The Times of India quoted sources involved in the hunt as saying the dart had been fired into the tiger's corpse after the shooting.

Indian media also reported officials had acknowledged that no vet was present during the hunt, as required by the court order.

Jerryl Banait, a vet and activist in Karnataka state who had launched appeals against the order with NGO Earth Brigade Foundation and the National Tiger Conservation Authority, described the shooting as "cold-blooded murder."

"Avni was killed illegally satisfying a hunter's lust for blood," said the Indian branch of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals group.

It said India's Wildlife Protection Act and National Tiger Conservation Authority rules had been flouted, calling for the matter to be "investigated and treated as a wildlife crime.”