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Let Avni Live: How tigress T1 in Maharashtra has been given death sentence without fair trial

There is no reason to pull the trigger at an animal whose space we have entered.

 |  3-minute read |   04-10-2018
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A tigress in the Loni forest of Maharashtra’s Yavatmal district has been awarded death sentence. This, when the charge of being a man-eater levelled against T1, or Avni, hasn’t even been proven conclusively.

Avni, a mother of two, will be shot as soon as it is sighted by the forest department personnel. Its two cubs are consequently expected to die without food since they haven’t yet learnt how to survive in the forest. It is usually the tigress that teaches cubs the tricks to live and rule the forest.

The Supreme Court upheld the ‘shoot-at-sight’ notice against the tigress on September 12.

tigress-690_100418040911.jpgWho is the real threat — tigers or humans? (Source: Reuters/Photo for representation only)

According to reports, the Maharashtra forest department had claimed that the six-year-old tigress, along with two of her cubs, had consumed 60 per cent of a human corpse in September, which led to the decision of declaring her as a 'man-eater'. Avni, reportedly, had claimed at least 9 lives till September.

The forest department has claimed that while they have been trying to reach ‘touching distance’ of the tigress to dart her with a tranquilliser for months, they have failed.

The petitioners in the case, Ajay Dubey of Bhopal's NGO Prayatna and Simarat Sandhu of the Save the Tiger campaign in Delhi, have been pleading that if the tigress was killed, her cubs would not be able to survive in the forest.

The obsession, however, to execute the ‘death sentence’ is so acute that forest officials are reportedly mulling the use of Calvin Klein perfume to lure the elusive tigress. The perfume is believed to be effective in luring nocturnal animals.

Shaken that the death sentence has come at a time when the country is trying to save its tigers, social media users have started a campaign #LetAvniLive. A petition on Change.org meanwhile is trying to build support around the idea that if Avni is indeed a threat, it should be tranquilised — not killed straightaway.

Being on top of the evolutionary chain, we as humans have encroached upon the space nature designated to wildlife. While there is certainly an argument for the human race’s need for space to expand, there is no reason to pull the trigger at an animal whose space we have entered.

On October 3, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was granted the United Nation's Champions of the Earth Award for 2018. Receiving the award, Modi said, “When I say ‘Sabka Saath’, I also include nature in it.”

champion-690_100418031854.jpgPM Narendra Modi receives the UN's top environmental honour 'Champions of The Earth'  (Source: PTI)

Nature includes Avni too. It includes her two cubs as well, who are facing a painful death that is certainly avoidable.

World Wildlife Fund explains why tigers need to be protected.

It says, “The tiger is a unique animal which plays a pivotal role in the health and diversity of an ecosystem. It is a top predator which is at the apex of the food chain and keeps the population of wild ungulates in check, thereby maintaining the balance between prey herbivores and the vegetation upon which they feed. Therefore, the presence of tigers in the forest is an indicator of the well being of the ecosystem. The extinction of this top predator is an indication that its ecosystem is not sufficiently protected, and neither would it exist for long thereafter.”

What we decide on Avni’s fate will actually spell our attitude towards wildlife.

We surely owe it to nature to be responsible cohabitants of the planet, not greedy and reckless encroachers.

Also read: India's first river linking project will drown its precious tigers

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