Man-eating tigress shot dead in India

Pauline Gross
November 4, 2018

In August the tigress and her two nine-month-old cubs killed three people in the area around the town of Pandharkawada in Yavatmal district and left more than 5,000 residents fearing for their lives. T1 was declared a "man-eater" by the Maharashtra Forest Department earlier.

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".

Asgar, son of controversial Hyderabad based shooter Nawab Shafat Ali Khan, killed the tigress when she attacked the hunters' team.

Replying to a query by the bench of justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and S M Modak, he said no deaths have been reported in the last two months because of these measures.

Sources also said that while the Supreme Court and High Court orders that allowed declaration of T1 as a man-eater were clear that every attempt should be made to tranquilize and kill, there was no evidence of any such attempt at the site.

People allegedly involved in the hunt told Indian media that it looked as though a tranquiliser dart was put into the tiger's corpse after the killing.

Forest officials did not respond to calls by ThePrint to explain why Khan's son Asghar, who was not hired for the operation, was present at the site.

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We wanted to do it for him and them. "It is going to be tough and it will be very emotional, but we've all chatted about it. We are a close-knit group and one big family and one of the main reasons for that is Vichai - so it's massively important.

Ali is son of Shafath Ali, the sharp-shooter, who was previously engaged in the operation to tranquillise the tigress.

However, Mishra's account was contradicted by other reports, while many groups condemned the way the killing was conducted. "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", the official said.

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. "We could not have let humans die to save an animal", he said. Speaking with the Times of India, wildlife activist Jerryl Banait said Avni's killing violated the National Tiger Conservation Authority's (NTCA's) rules. "Even the tranquilizer that was found stuck in the tigress' body, was clearly shoved into it after it was shot dead".

"The tigress" carcass was later taken to Nagpur for a post-mortem examination.

Despite the disputed circumstances, villages around the town of Pandharkawda celebrated the death with relief.

With more than 2,200 big cats, India is home to 60% of the world's tigers. There are strict laws in force in India against the killing of wild animals.

Endangered elephants and tigers kill on average one person a day, according to government figures.

Other reports by GizPress

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