Maharashtra prepares to kill tigress Avni
Activists are continuing their fight to save 6 year old tigress Avni who the State Government has ordered to 'shoot on sight'. Sadly a legal battle failed last month when the Supreme Court of India refused to stay the order issued by the the state forest department to ensure no more human-wildlife conflicts would take place in the Pandharkawada forest of Maharashtra. Avni, or T1 as she is identified, is alleged to have killed 13 villagers who had transgressed into the forest boundary over the last two years. Many experts claim there is no conclusive evidence to say that it was Avni who killed the villagers and wildlife enthusiasts and forest rights activists have been campaigning to reverse the order to terminate her. Several people, including actors and politicians, have come forward in support of Avni plus a number of citizen groups have also protested across Maharashtra. Avni is the mother of two 10-month-old cubs and has been living in the territorial forest of Pandharkawada with her mate. Media reports indicate that the first killing took place in mid-2016. Since then, around 13 persons have been killed in the forest. Some activists have said that the killings did not happen due to the tigress entering into human settlements but the other way around. According to the National Tiger Conservation Authority’s guidelines, a tiger can be known as a “man- eating tiger” only if leaves its own habitat and comes into human territory, lurks to find humans as if they are its own prey, and habitually feeds on their flesh. Going by the pattern of the killings and Avni’s behaviour, it appears she cannot be classified as a “man-eater”, something the state has been trying to claim.
As the state readies to kill Avni, experts have pointed out some loopholes in the claims made by the forest authorities so far. Seven of the 13 killings had cattle next to the bodies of the human victims, which experts allege could be due to the uncontrolled grazing that has been carried out within the forest boundary. More on this report can be read by following the link below.