Tigress who was believed to have killed 13 people, shot dead

How tigress Avni was shot dead in Maharashtra

The Supreme Court had issued a hunting order for T1 in September, ruling that she could be killed if tranquilisers failed.

Trained sniffer dogs, trap cameras, drones and a hang-glider, expert trackers, sharp-shooters and around 200 ground personnel were roped in for the task. One of them told Mid-Day, "We have been facing losses as we were unable to go to our farm". The secretary of Hyderabad-based Wildlife Tranqui Force (WTF), speaking to Express from Pandharkawada, said all his efforts were to bait the tiger and her cubs to a safe place and tranquillise them and move to a rescue centre.

The female tiger, called T-1 by forest rangers, was blamed for the killings of more than a dozen villagers in Maharashtra, said the Maharashtra Forest Department on November 3. "Despite the forest officials being committed to tranquilise, capture and quarantine the tigress, the trigger-happy shooter has killed her on his own under orders of Mungantiwar", the Union minister said. They also tried tracking her while riding elephants. They just seem to be in absolute heaven'. There were no vets present during the killing early today.

"Avni was killed illegally satisfying a hunter's lust for blood", said the Indian branch of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals group.

Tigress T1 has left behind two cubs which are over 10 months old, where as, another male tiger, T2, is also believed to be a man-eater.

The father, animal rights activists allege, is a big-cat hunter and his participation became controversial.

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A police official said, "Avni was shot dead by sharp-shooter Asgar Ali, son of famous sharp-shooter Nawab Shafat Ali, at compartment number 149 of Borati forest under the jurisdiction of the Ralegaon police station".

Hunters waited for several hours before identifying the tiger and shooting her with a tranquilizer dart, the officials said. The team that took down the tigress comprised of three forest staff members, Asghar and the vehicle driver.

Last night, from 6.45 pm onwards, the tigress was sighted by many villagers.

"In a reflex action of self-defense, the shooter fired from a distance of 8 to 10 meters [26 feet to 33 feet]". The tigress died on the spot. There were reports that the state government chose to terminate his services after the intervention of Union minister Maneka Gandhi. 'The tigress lay dead in a single shot'.

Shafat Ali Khan, who was first given permission to shoot the tigress, could not be reached on phone for his comments as there was no official word if his son was also allowed to shoot the animal.

"This matter must be investigated and treated as a wildlife crime".

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