By Lauren Lewis –
October 11, 2018
Photo from the Hindu
Outraged animal advocates continue to grow in numbers as they protest, both on the streets and on social media, against the death sentence imposed on a tigress who has been deemed to be a “man-eater” by some. Activists are angry over the Supreme Court’s decision to not interfere in the matter.
Maharashtra Forest Department and Nagpur bench Bombay High Court ordered the death of the five-year-old tigress, named Avni, who is also the mother to two cubs. Avni, has been accused of killing 13 people since 2016 after an industrialist bought 437 hectares of land inside the forest for commercial purposes.
An online petition, supported by the hashtag #LetAvniLive, is receiving signatures from animal advocates from around the world while, according to the Logical Indian, physical protests have already taken place in Delhi and Mumbai.
L-R Delhi and Mumbai protests, Photos from the Logical Indian
Advocates for Avni, have claimed that she has never ventured out of the forest, rather it is humans who have encroached on their lands. The area is reportedly rampant with illegal cattle grazing and a lot of new industries as well; fueling more opportunities for ‘man-animal conflict.’
“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 of Earth Brigade Foundation, noted in an article in The Hindu.
“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,” continued Subramaniam who is working with National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). “It is slowly killing them.”
Horrified, Earth Brigade Foundation recently took to its Facebook page to share a post that included “Shoot a mother and put her 9 month old cubs in captivity for life if they ever reach adulthood. That’s Tiger conservation in Maharashtra.”
Currently, Anvi is being hunted in the Pandharkawda forest, Ralegaon in Maharashtra, by an estimated 150 forest officials with “shoot-to-kill orders” as well as by controversial private hunter, Nawab Shafat Ali Khan.
The petition notes that Shafat Ali Khan is the hunter infamous for stating that “humans and big cats cannot co-exist.” He left the forest last month but the Maharashtra State Government and Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar reportedly had him return to hunt down Avni.
The Let Avni Live campaign quickly gained momentum with national and international wildlife activists questioning some irregularities of the case such as the DNA example noted above by Dr. Sarita Subramaniam.
People can sign the petition to try to save Anvi here: Petition: SAVE Avni the Tigress and her two cubs from death. · Change.org
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