Published: Tue, November 06, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Man-eating tigress shot dead in India

Man-eating tigress shot dead in India

Besides PILs in the Supreme Court and Bombay High Court (Nagpur Bench), several wildlife groups and activists had strongly opposed plans to eliminate Avni since it would also mean near-certain death for her two dependent young ones, online petitions and social media campaigns since several months, demonstrations and protests in a bid to save the tigress and her cubs.

Stating that the tigress had killed 13 people, including eight tribals, since 2016, Mungantiwar said the government had followed the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) guidelines in declaring her a man-eater. "Attempts were made by a 200-strong team over two months to cage her".

The petitioners had challenged the forest department's order to tranquillise and kill tigress "Avni" (T-1), suspected to be roaming in Pandharkavda forests in Yavatmal district.

Meanwhile, Dr Prayag HS, an experienced wildlife veterinarian and veteran of several big cat captures in the country, the court orders were not followed and the animal was shot in cold blood.

Tigress Avni, who is believed to be responsible for the deaths of 13 people in the past two years, was killed in Maharashtra's Yavatmal on Friday as part of an operation. They can be killed only if a state government determines the animal is risky to human life.

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On Friday, a patrol team lured Avni using as bait a live goat, the urine of another tigress, and a Calvin Klein perfume that contains a pheromone shown draw big cats. The tigress was shot dead by Asghar Ali Khan, city-based hunter "Nawab" Shafat Ali Khan's son. "However, due to dense forest and darkness, they were unable to do so and finally a bullet was sacked in which the tigress fell on the spot", he said. There was no veterinarian present with the team at the time of the incident as mandated.

When asked on Union Minister Maneka Gandhi's statements on the tigress' killing, Fadnavis said the former had used "harsh words". This is patently illegal.

"Shafat Ali Khan has killed three tigers, at least 10 leopards, a few elephants and 300 wild boar in Chandrapur, Maharashtra. 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 Sudhir Mungantiwar".

India is home to the world's largest number of tigers in the wild. "The tranquilisation too had to be done carefully as we did not want to kill the tigress with an over-dose either", a senior official said.

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