Mumbai, Niv 3: For over a week now, wildlife enthusiasts and animal lovers were campaigning to save Avni or named T-1, who has terrorised the region with her alleged killing spree for which the government had issued a shoot at sight order because she was allegedly a man-eater.
But even as the campaigners continued to make their desperate attempts, the news which they feared has come.
The tigress, T1, as she was known officially, was killed on Friday night the team of hunters which was dispatched to eliminate her.
She was killed in a single shot, from point blank, without even making an attempt to tranquilize her and capture the tiger alive, which the activists were demanding.
Wildlife activist and medico Jerryl A. Banait, who had filed a public interest litigation jointly with NGO Earth Brigade Foundation (EBF), said that the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)'s rules have been grossly violated in the killing of Avni.
"Such an operation can be carried out only between sunrise and sunset, there was no vets present during the killing early today or the police, as per the NTCA's guidelines. In the night, its almost impossible to even identify the gender of any tiger, let alone a specific target like Avni," IANS quoted Banait as saying.
Fighting for survival
With more than 2,200 big cats, India is home to 60% of the world's tigers. There are more than 200 in Maharashtra, but only a third of them live in the state's 60 protected areas, including sanctuaries, natural parks and tiger reserves.
In recent years, the conservation of the species has been the watchword for many. Environmentalists, conservationists, concerned citizens, schools and young students have repeatedly rallied together to protecting the tiger.
Many tigers perish every year due to activities of poachers and humans encroaching on forests reserved for tigers, which result in man-animal conflict.
The last instance when a man-eating tiger was shot dead was in October 2016 in Uttarakhand. The beast killed three villagers, including a woman, on the fringes of the Jim Corbett National Park, which is one of the largest tiger reserves in the country.
Maneaters eliminated since 2012
- December 2, 2012: Outside Wayanad sanctuary, Kerala
- Jan 12, 2013: Adult male, outside protected forest in Gondia, Maharashtra
- Jan 21, 2014: Sub-adult male, outside protected area (PA) in Nilgiri North Division, Tamil Nadu
- Jan 23, 2014: Sub-adult male, outside PA, in Ooty, TN
- Aug 19, 2014: Sub-adult male, outside PA in Chandrapur, Maharashtra
- Dec 29, 2014: Outside Bhimgarh Sanctuary, Karnataka
- Nov 17, 2015: Adult male outside Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Karnataka
- Feb 18, 2015: Adult male outside PA in Gudalur forest division, Karnataka
- March 19, 2016: Outside PA in Gudalur, TN
- Oct 20, 2016: Adult female outside PA in Ramnagar, Uttarakhand (Source: NTCA)