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. Efforts to trace the tigress were renewed on September 11 after the Supreme Court refused to change or stay the PCCF's (Principal Chief Conserv Forests) order that the tigress can be killed if attempts to tranquilize her fail.
For almost three months, equipped with the latest technology, 150 ground personnel, elephants and so-called expert trackers and shooters were on a quest to find Avni. If the forest department had taken adequate steps to capture the tigress when the initial human kills happened, the tigress could have been captured alive and human lives would have also been saved.
The big cat was blamed for 13 deaths since June 2016 but animal activists said she was trying to protect her young.
However, an online petition to "save tigress Avni" that was signed by over 50,000 people 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".
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Jerryl Banait, a vet and activist in Karnataka state who had launched appeals against the order, described the shooting as "cold-blooded murder". The authorities made a decision to hunt the tigress to ensure the coexistence of tigers and humans.
The post-mortem had revealed it was a six-year-old big cat weighing around 91 kgs which had killed two persons and left three injured in the area.
The villagers are banned by the government from grazing their cattle in the reserve and have been taking them into the forest because there is little fodder close to their homes, our correspondent says. 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. As an act of self defence, Mr Asghar fired from a distance of about 8-10 m.
This handout photo released by the Maharashtra Forest Department on November 3, 2018 shows the dead body of the tiger known to hunters as T1 after being shot in the forests of India's Maharashtra state near Yavatmal.
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However, Maneka Gandhi, the Union minister for women and child development, has disputed the turn of events citing a report in The Print.
"Every time he has used Hyderabad-based shooter Shafat Ali Khan, and this time his son has also appeared in the scene illegally to murder the tigress", Gandhi said.
Hours later, the tigress - dubbed T1 by forest rangers and Avni by animal advocates - was seen walking down a street near the Borati village, and a patrol team was dispatched.
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