Indian tiger 'Avni' shot dead after 13 deaths

How tigress Avni was shot dead in Maharashtra

A tigress in India who is suspected of having killed at least 13 people over two years was shot and killed in India after a hunt Friday night, officials said. Avni is survived by her two cubs who are 10 months old. The Maharashtra forest department had been searching for the "man-eater" tigress for almost three months, which involved sniffer dogs, trap cameras, drones and a hang-glider, expert trackers, sharp-shooters and around 200 ground personnel.

India's Supreme Court issued a hunting order for T1 in September, ruling that she could be killed if tranquilisers failed. "Despite the forest officials being committed to tranquilise, capture and quarantine the tigress, the trigger-happy shooter has killed her on his own under orders of Mungantiwar", the Union minister said. The post-mortem report is expected to shed more light on the entire even of the tigress being killed, the animal-lovers have said.

"Despite several requests from many stakeholders, S Mungantiwar, Minister for Forests, Maharashtra, gave orders for the killing", she said, adding that he been doing this regularly.

When queried about the two cubs of the deceased tigress, Mr. Mungantiwar said that the two were now almost 11 months old and capable of survival in the wild. An online petition was launched against killing the tigress and urged people to prevent her cubs from being killed too.

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. The authorities made a decision to hunt the tigress to ensure the coexistence of tigers and humans.

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Ms Gandhi also expressed concern over the well being of the two cubs left behind after the killing of their mother.

It said the department got a message at 11.30 pm after which senior officials and others were rushed to the spot. When certain about the identity, a team member attempted a dart that hit it, but the tigress moved back and charged at the team, which was in a open gypsy.

"In a reflex action of self-defense, the shooter fired from a distance of 8 to 10 meters". T1 was declared a "man-eater" by the Maharashtra Forest Department earlier.

While wildlife enthusiasts and experts cried foul over the incident, the Maharashtra Forest Department defended it saying the tigress was killed in "self-defence'".

Maneka claimed that each time, Mungantiwar hired Hyderabad-based shooter Shafat Ali Khan for the job, and "this time, his son (Asghar Ali) also appeared in the scene illegally to murder the tigress".

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