Tigress was facing away from the hunter when she was shot: Avni Post-Mortem Witness Report

The six-year-old animal was killed by Maharashtra Forest Department who claimed that the ‘man-eating’ tigress was shot in self-defence as she had charged towards the shooter who had tranquilised her

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The slaying of the ‘man-eating’ tigress Avni has created quite a stir amongst the people and led to constant criticism of the State Forest Department who shot her dead on November 2. While the officials claimed that they had shot in self-defence after the six-year-old tigress had attacked the shooter, a report by The Indian Express, citing the post-mortem witness report, stated that the tigress was facing away from the shooter when she was shot at.

The report further also disclosed that the dart found the ‘man-eating’ tigress’ left thigh did not show any impact of being fired from tranquiliser dart to immobilise the animal. Whereas, as per the Supreme Court orders, the officials had been told to shoot only if the tranquilisers failed to work.

The tigress was shot dead by sharpshooter Asgar Ali, son of sharpshooter Nawab Shafat Ali, on November 2 in Yavatmal district by Maharashtra Forest Department after the six-year-old had allegedly killed 13 people in the Ralegaon forest since June 2016.

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Meanwhile, Maharashtra’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) AK Misra had earlier commented that forester Mukhbir Sheikh had shot a tranquiliser dart at Avni but she got furious and charged at them, after which, Ali was forced to shoot the tigress in ‘self-defence’.

However, the witness report has photographs which show that the cannula of the dart had only penetrated into the subcutaneous layer and did not even go into the underlying muscle. The doctors discovered that the connective tissue beneath the skin was intact which meant that the tranquiliser hadn’t entered Avni’s blood flow.

There was no haemorrhage observed in the muscles at the darting site,” the witness report submitted by wildlife biologist Milind Pariwakam, a representative of the Maharashtra forest department stated. “Dart fired from a syringe projector [tranquillising rifle] always leaves a significant and obvious haematoma, which was not observed in this case.”

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On the other hand, Misra has suggested not to jump to conclusions as the report is yet to be examined by him and a decision currently would be premature at this stage. The Forest Department has also set up an inquiry in order to find out if any wrongdoings had been conducted during the operation.

The six-year-old was a mother of two 11-month-old cubs, who still haven’t been located by the department. However, the forest officials have stated that they have found pugmarks which indicate that the cubs are still alive.

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