Tigress Avni Shot Dead in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal; Locals Celebrate

Governance       ‘Trigger-happy’ hunter’s son kills tigress Avni but no one’s saying how he got there
       
       	        Sanya Dhingra         3 November 2018

Man-eater tigress T1, also known as Avni, was shot dead late Friday night in Yavatmal district of Maharashtra.

In September, the Supreme Court said she could be shot on sight, prompting a flurry of online petitions.

The 6-year-old mother of two cubs is believed to have had 13 victims, most of whom were male herders.

Tiwari said the cubs can not be left in the wild. According to the New Indian Express, Asgar Ali Khan, son of the controversial Hyderabad-based shooter Shafat Ali Khan, killed the tigress when she attacked the hunting team.

The elusive tigress on the run for over a month was spotted with the help of night vision thermal drones last night in Gorakhpur village of Ramnagar sub-division after an intense combing operation, Terai Western Forest Circle Conservator Parag Dhakate had said.

Wildlife activist and medico Jerryl A. Banait, who had filed a public interest litigation jointly with NGO Earth Brigade Foundation (EBF), said that the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)'s rules have been grossly violated in the killing of Avni. "She may not have died instantly but slowly, through pain and blood loss, and likely in front of her now orphaned and vulnerable cubs".

Talking to PTI, Mungantiwar said Gandhi's criticism "stems from her lack of information" on the issue and asserted neither he, as a minister, nor any of the secretaries in his department have the right to order such killings.

Maneka's reaction drew a sharp reaction from Maharashtra Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar who said, "If she (Maneka Gandhi) thinks any tiger or tigress should not be killed even if it is a man-eater, then the decision should be taken by the Centre".

A statement explained that a tranquilliser dart was sacked at the animal.

"The Forest Department is not an enemy of the tigress". On shooter Shafat Ali Khan, she pointed out that he has killed three tigers, at least 10 leopards, a few elephants and 300 wild boars in Maharashtra's Chandrapur. 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.

"In a reflex action of self-defense, the shooter fired from a distance of 8 to 10 meters".

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 said that she will take Avni's killing 'legally, criminally as well as politically'.

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