white tiger India
A zookeeper was mauled to death at Bannerghatta Biological Park in India on 7 October 2017 REUTERS/Parth Sanyal

A zookeeper at a national park in India has been mauled to death by two white tiger cubs.

The 40-year-old man, who has only been named as Anji, was attacked and killed by the animals as he tried to guide them back towards their enclosure at Bannerghatta Biological Park on Saturday night (7 October).

Park chief Santosh Kumar told AFP that the tiger cubs pounced on the man because one of the four enclosure gates was not properly closed.

Another keeper managed to drive the tigers off, but Anji could not be saved and was pronounced dead at the scene.

"The felines did not allow the caretaker to retrieve Anji's body from the spot and were guarding it, which delayed in rushing him to a nearby hospital," Kumar said.

Anji's relatives have accused the park of negligence and are demanding management provide financial compensation totalling 500,000 rupees (£5,845).

Bannerghatta Biological Park is situated around 21km south of Bangalore, the capital of India's southern Karnataka state.

Two years ago another zookeeper at the park was attacked, by a pair of lions, according to the Press Trust of India.

White tigers are an endangered species predominantly found in south and east Asia. They owe their striking colour to a recessive gene.

India is home to half the world's tiger population, with an estimated 2,226 tigers in 2014.