Animal lovers appeal to authorities to save Avni

Standing with Avni:  Protesters at a rally at Carter Road, Mumbai, on Sunday.

Standing with Avni: Protesters at a rally at Carter Road, Mumbai, on Sunday.

Mumbai: Citizens, activists and volunteers of the Aam Aadmi Party gathered in Bandra on Sunday evening for a rally in support of Avni, or T1, a tigress at Pandharkawada’s Tipeshwar forest, who has been ordered to be killed for being a man-eater.

The tigress was said to be a man-eater after 13 human bodies were found in her territory. The protesters, however, said the first body was found in 2016, immediately after an industrialist allegedly purchased 437 hectares of land in the mineral-rich forest for ₹40 crore to construct a cement factory. The land was then sold off to another business house in January this year.

“There have been 13 killings, but only three bodies underwent forensic examinations. Of the three, only one had tigress DNA on it,” Dr. Sarita Subramaniam, co-founder and director, Earth Brigade Foundation, said.

The activists expressed disappointment at the Supreme Court deciding not to interfere in the matter. They criticised the Maharashtra Forest Department for seeking help from Hyderabad-based hunter Nawab Shaukat Ali Khan. “Anyone can tranquilise an animal, why call a hunter?” Dr. Subramaniam asked.

After the kill order for Avni came in January, Earth Brigade Foundation, which has been working with the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) since November last year, took up the issue. An NTCA team was then sent to investigate the case. “The NTCA is what we call a toothless tiger. We have less than 1,700 tigers in the country. Tigers are territorial. But with the government taking away places for them to grow naturally in the wild, it corrupts their gene pool. It is slowly killing them,” Dr. P.V. Subramaniam, co-founder, Earth Brigade Foundation said.

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Printable version | May 16, 2022 8:16:30 pm |