Man-eater tigress T1-Avni shot dead at Pandharkawada, villagers celebrate

Aaron Brown
November 5, 2018

Tigress Avni, believed to have been responsible for the deaths of 13 people in Maharashtra in the past two years, was shot dead in Yavatmal district of Maharashtra on Friday night as part of an operation, police said Saturday.

The mother of two 10-month-old cubs, who was known as Avni to animal conservationists and T-1 officially, was tracked down by Borati forest officials in Maharashtra state.

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.

Tigress Avni was shot dead as a last resort when all attempts to tranquilise her failed and she attacked officials, Maharashtra Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said on Sunday. "But, still the problem has not been solved completely and we want the cubs to be captured at the earliest".

A team of private hunters, horses and elephants were also sent inside the Pandharkawda forest to shoot the animal on sight.

"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".

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Elsewhere, TV footage showed locals celebrating and distributing candies, saying they were relieved that the terror unleashed by the tigress was over.

'Avni was killed illegally satisfying a hunter's lust for blood, ' said the Indian branch of the PETA.

It said India's Wildlife Protection Act and National Tiger Conservation Authority rules had been flouted, calling for the matter to be "investigated and treated as a wildlife crime".

The PCCF order had stated that tigress' cubs should be tranquillised first, as opposed to the CCF order which said the big cat should be tranquillised first. The forest department, the local government, even the Supreme Court saw it otherwise.

The big cat was blamed for 13 deaths since June 2016 but animal activists said she was trying to protect her young. 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. The tigress died on the spot. Villagers of the Pandharkawada area celebrated the killing of the tigress by sharing candies and bursting crackers. There were reports that the state government chose to terminate his services after the intervention of Union minister Maneka Gandhi.

Services of controversial private marksman Shafat Ali Khan was also hired by the forest department.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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