The feline attacked them and was about to bite off the child’s head, when the mother intervened at the last minute, he added.
The tiger continued to attack them, until villagers, alerted by the cries of the mother, rushed to their aid. The animal then fled into the forest.
The mother had punctured lungs and also had injuries to her abdomen. The little boy had his head gouged out by the fangs.
“She has been admitted to hospital. She is out of danger and recovering. The baby is also doing well,” Shrivastava said.
According to the daily Times of India, an operation was carried out to help the tiger regain its territory. The villagers were asked not to go out in the middle of the night.
Human-wildlife conflict is on the rise across South Asia, where more and more forests are receding in the face of urban expansion.
Nearly 225 people were killed in tiger attacks between 2014 and 2019 in India, according to government figures.
More than 200 tigers were killed by poachers or by electrocution between 2012 and 2018, according to the data. India is home to around 70% of the world’s tiger population, or 2,967 individuals recorded in 2018.