Killing ‘Man-Eater’ Avni and Increasing Animal Cruelty

After nearly three months of search tigress Avni (T1) was killed in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal on Friday. Asgar Ali, son of Hyderabad-based controversial private marksman Shafat Ali Khan, shot the tigress dead. He was hired by the forest department to kill the tigress. The hunt was criticized a lot by the animal rights fraternity. They demanded the resignation of the forest minister. 

The hunt

Avni was alleged to be responsible for the deaths of 13 people since last two years. The real hunt started in September when the Maharashtra forest department issued a shoot on sight warrant for the tigress on 4th. The forest department claimed that the six-year-old tigress, along with two of her cubs, had consumed 60 percent of a human corpse, which led to the decision of declaring her as a “man-eater”.   

The search included 150 ground personnel, elephants and so-called expert trackers and shooters were on a quest to find Avni. The forest department conducted the search with the help of trap cameras, drones, sniffer dogs and a hang-glider along with a team of forest department officials in the vicinity of the Tippeshwar Tiger Sanctuary. 

Criticism

Avni’s killing has drawn sharp criticism from animal rights activists including those who had filed a petition to save her. 

“We demand the resignation of the forest minister and suspension of the PCCF for orchestrating this fake encounter of Tigress T-1/ Avni.”

Sarita Subhramaniam of Earth Brigade Foundation, one of the key petitioners in Avni’s case.

The decision was challenged in the Bombay High Court by wildlife lover Dr. Jerryl Banait on 6 September. Justice BP Dharmadhikari and MG Giradkar at the Nagpur Bench of Bombay high court on 7 September disposed of the civil application seeking stay against orders to shoot Avni, known officially as T1 of Pandharkawda. 

The animal rights activists went to the Supreme Court to challenge the High Court judgement. However, Supreme Court refused to interfere in the Bombay High Court order. This gave the forest department a go-ahead to implement its order.

Recently, China reversed its law which prevented hunting Rhinos and Tigers. They lifted the sanctions in the name of Chinese Traditional Medicine. Though the technique has a huge market but found no scientific proof.

How are we different? The end result is the same. Like them, we spilled the blood by hiring a private shooter, who is notorious for poaching. Though controlling the tigress was a priority but killing wasn’t. We killed the beast and celebrated like a victory in a war. We tagged her ‘Man-eater’ after she ‘allegedly’ claimed 13 lives. What are we then after killing numerous beasts for our selfish needs? 

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