Mumbai: Tigress Avni’s reaction was mistaken and the trigger was pulled in a hurry by an “inexperienced” shooter, a report tabulated by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to inquire the death of the tigress revealed. As per the report, which was submitted on November 28, drugs used for tranquillising the tigress were handled by non-professionals and unauthorised personnel.
“From the reconstruction of movement of T-1 (Tigress Avni) and final position of the body of T-1, it was moving away from the road and vehicle on its traditional walk path while it was shot. Tigress was not aggressive and showed behaviour that was natural after it was hit by a dart, and they were moving towards the direction of the animal. Tiger’s reaction was mistaken and the shot was taken in a hurry by inexperienced Asghar Ali Khan. Evidence strongly supports above observation. In view of the facts, the firing in self-defence is doubtful,” the report highlighted.
Maharashtra Forest Ministry on November 9 formed an inquiry committee to look into the killing of tigress Avni. The panel was headed by Forest department officer SH Patil and comprises Bilal Habib, a member of the Wildlife Institute of India and Anish Andheriya, a member of the Wildlife Promotion Trust. A senior forest department official, Nitin Kakodkar, was appointed a coordinator of the panel.
On November 2, Tigress Avni, who was believed to have killed 13 people in the last two years, was gunned down by sharp-shooter Azgher Ali Khan in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal district as part of a planned operation. The killing invited huge flak from various quarters with Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi lashing out at the Maharashtra government for the move.
The BJP leader also lambasted sharp-shooter Azgher Ali, saying he was not authorised to gun down the tigress, and that he carried out the task illegally. “This is patently illegal. Despite the forest officials being committed to tranquilise, capture and quarantine the tigress, the trigger-happy shooter has killed her on his own under direct orders of Mungantiwar. The tigress was a mother. Now her two cubs will also die,” she said in a tweet.
Earlier, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had expressed his dismay over the decision to kill the man-eater tigress and assured that his government will initiate a probe to check if there were any procedural lapses in the entire operation.