Activists livid after ‘man-eater’ tigress Avni shot dead by officials in Maharashtra

Man-eating tigress shot dead in India

Killer tiger shot dead

At the time, the petitioners told a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta that if the tigress was shot dead, both her cubs would not be able to survive in the forest.

"Despite several requests from many stakeholders, [Maharashtra Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar] gave orders for the killing", Gandhi said in a series of tweets.

According to a letter written by the chief conservator of forests to principal conservator of forests A.K. Mishra, who had hired Khan, the hunter chose not to cooperate with forest department officials right from the beginning, and instead went on speaking to the media - despite orders that prohibited him to do so.

"It is nothing but a straight case of crime", said Gandhi, a member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), describing the shooting as a "ghastly murder".

A forest ranger on Friday fired a tranquilizing dart into the side of the six-year-old big cat, believed to have slain 13 villagers, but she charged at his open-air patrol vehicle and a hunter shot her with a single, fatal bullet to the belly. "This is patently illegal", she said. She was killed on Friday.

Lawyer Tushar Mandlekar who fought against the shoot-at-sight order of the state forest department on September 4 at the Supreme Court demanded a probe under special investigation team (SIT).

Broadcaster NDTV said Avni was killed after a huge operation involving sniffer dogs, trip cameras, nearly 200 people and even a hang glider.

"She may not have died instantly but slowly, through pain and blood loss, and likely in front of her now orphaned and vulnerable cubs", said Meet Ashar, Lead Emergency Response Coordinator, PETA India. Speaking to ThePrint, he had said, "The NTCA prohibits darting of animals at night, and during the day, it is impossible to spot her". He has taken part in around 25 operations of man-animal conflict, and in five cases, he tranquilised the wild animals. Thirteen lives were lost.

The first order to shoot T1 was issued in January but was stayed by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court after the tigress was found to be moving with her cubs. "It's a musky smell that really makes them think about another competitor in the ecosystem or a potential mate", he said.

The operation to capture or kill T1 and capture her cubs had been going on since then, making it one of the longest such in the country to capture or kill a tiger.

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