Row erupts over killing of tigress

Man-eating tigress shot dead in India

Killer tiger shot dead

He said a report has been sought by his ministry over the killing of Avni, who is believed to be responsible for the deaths of 13 people in the past two years, as part of an operation in Maharashtra's Yavatmal district.

India's Supreme Court had issued a hunting order for T1 - blamed for 13 deaths since June 2016 - in September, ruling that she could be killed if tranquillizers failed.

The search operation came after almost three months of a massive tigress-hunt along with trap cameras, drones, a pack of trained sniffer dogs and a hang-glider along with a team of forest department officials and spotters.

A team armed with a tranquiliser gun and a firearm was stationed in a vehicle on a road where the tigress, known as T-1, had been spotted by villagers, a Forestry Department statement said. While wildlife enthusiasts and experts cried foul over the incident, the Maharashtra Forest Department defended it saying the tigress was killed in "self-defence'".

Former Union minister and Congress leader Milind Deora demanded stern action against the perpetrators and questioned what would happen to Avni's two cubs now. "It is impossible to have shot the dart with such textbook precision at the most preferred location on the animal's body in darkness", he said. "They will die soon if they are not captured soon", a source familiar with the situation said. According to reports, Maharashtra forest officials used a bottle of Calvin Klein Obsession cologne scent near camera traps to lure the dreaded animal, the tigress reportedly killed 14 people, to a place where they can surround her and finally they succeeded in their attempt.

Animal rights activists argue such big cats should not be called "man-eaters" because they don't trespass into human habitats to kill people - it's the other way around. "Who cares about a tigress when industrialists are on the prowl for forest lands", she remarked sarcastically.

A team of private hunters, horses and elephants were also sent inside the Pandharkawda forest to shoot the animal on sight.

Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi on Sunday lashed out at the BJP-led Maharashtra government over the "ghastly murder" of man-eating tigress Avni, calling it a "straight case of crime". Despite several requests from many stakeholders, S Mungantiwar, Minister for Forests, Maharashtra, gave orders for the killing. "Legally, criminally as well as politically", she posted on Twitter.

Mungantiwar on Monday took strong objection to Maneka's criticism of the Maharashtra government over Avni's killing, claiming she "lacks information" on the case and can order a high-level investigation if she wants to.

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