Maharashtra: ‘Man-eating tigress’ Avni killed in Yavatmal forest

Maharashtra: ‘Man-eating tigress’ Avni killed in Yavatmal forest

Maharashtra: ‘Man-eating tigress’ Avni killed in Yavatmal forest

Forest officials said the tigress, along with her cubs, had consumed 60 per cent of a human corpse, which ultimately led to the decision of declaring her as a "man-eater" and the passing of orders to kill her on sight. One of them told Mid-Day, "We have been facing losses as we were unable to go to our farm". "This ghastly murder has put two cubs at the edge of a sad death in the absence of their mother", she said.

However, the government order to kill the tigress generated a flurry of online petitions.

On October 17, The Bombay high court had sought the Maharashtra Forest Department's stand on a plea challenging its steps aimed at killing a "man-eater" tigress, roaming in the state's Yavatmal district forests. Speaking with the Times of India, wildlife activist Jerryl Banait said Avni's killing violated the National Tiger Conservation Authority's (NTCA's) rules.

The Supreme Court had earlier stated that the primary objective of the operation was to tranquilise and capture Avni and killing was proposed only as the last alternative. Nor were there any police, as per the NCTA's guidelines. The authorities chose to hunt the tigress to ensure the coexistence of tigers and humans. "Despite the forest officials being committed to tranquilise, capture and qurantine the tigress, the trigger-happy shooter has killed her on his own under orders of Mungantiwar", she tweeted. Avni is survived by her two cubs who are 10-months-old.

The post-mortem had revealed it was a six-year-old big cat weighing around 91 kgs which had killed two persons and left three injured in the area.

"Yet, the Forest Department will ensure their upkeep", he said. The staff started alerting the passersby about the presence of the tiger. Once the team was certain of the tigress' identity after having seen it "for fraction of the time", but "several times", one member, identified as Sheikh, attempted a dart that hit it but the tigress moved back and charged the team which was in an open Gypsy. The tigress died on the spot.

"In a reflex action of self-defense, the shooter fired from a distance of 8 to 10 meters". There were reports that the state government chose to terminate his services after the intervention of Union minister Maneka Gandhi.

The plea also sought revocation of the appointment of Hyderabad-based sharpshooter Shafaqaut Ali Khan for the job, contending that he lacked the experience of tranquillising wild animals.

Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister Maneka Gandhi on Sunday slammed the Maharashtra government over the "brutal murder" of suspected man-eating tigress Avni and accused it to be a "straight case of crime".

She ultimately asserted that she would take up the issue with Devendra Fadnavis, the chief minister of Maharashtra.

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