A six-year-old tigress Avni or T1 was shot dead last night, who was being hunted for killing and eating 13 humans over the last two years in the Pandharkawada- Ralegaon forests of Yavatmal district in eastern Maharashtra.
The forest department confirmed and announced for sharing the operation details at a press conference in Nagpur today.
Avni / T1 tigress was a six-year-old mother of two cubs. Avni was protecting her two 10-month old dependent cubs in the area of the Tippeshwar Tiger Sanctuary, from the past few weeks when she was shot down by a marksman, Nawab Asghar Ali Khan.
The carcass of Avni has been sent to Nagpur’s Gorewada Rescue Centre for an autopsy. Still, her cubs are missing.
As per the Supreme Court order, the forest department and officials were instructed to first tranquilize and trap her, but on Saturday’s operation, she apparently attacked the stalking team, which made them shot her.
Tigress Avni was tagged as a man-eater and had been in the focus of a massive hunt for the past few months.
This year The forest department issued a shoot-to-kill order for tigress Avni. The shoot-to-kill order was reportedly only to be used as a last option. the order was challenged in courts all the way to the Supreme Court.
Last month The Bombay High Court’s Nagpur Bench admitted a PIL that sought a stay on plans to kill Avni but to capture her alive.
A change.org petition to ‘save tigress Avni’ that was signed by over 50,000 people clearly said that her killing “would eventually result in the death of her two cubs too, as they are both too young to hunt and survive on their own”.
The forest department had deployed over 100 people team to make sure that the tigress and her cubs would not walk close to the nearby villages again.
The forest department also employed around a 100 camera traps, a pack of hunter dogs, drones and a motorized paraglider that was being used to survey the forest from a height of about 1,000 feet on the hunt for Avni.
The hunt for the tigress was even making international headlines.
tigress Avni remained untraceable for a long time Despite the all-out nature of the hunt that has been launched. That, perhaps, was the only silver lining for a bunch of activists who have voiced fierce opposition to the hunt.
The activists have begun petitioning officials as high as the President of India, requesting him to step in and get the shoot-to-kill order withdrawn.
On the other hand, some locals in Yavatmal were seen celebrating tigress Avni’s death, by bursting firecrackers and distributing sweets.