In November 2018, Tigress Avni, also known as T1, had made headlines when she was shot dead in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal district. A classic example of man-animal conflict, Avni’s killing caused outrage among many across the country.
Now, eight months after her killing, one of her cubs, T1C1, is giving forest officials in Maharashtra the slip. Officials say that they want to catch him because Avni, who was allegedly a ‘man eater’ may have left her imprint on him.
The Indian Express reported that T1C1 has managed to outwit officials and has been able to escape a “wide net” spread across the forests of Yavatmal district. He also allegedly “angrily lunged at an elephant carrying a team of tiger-catchers,” the report said.
His sibling, T1C2 was caught and sent to the Pench Tiger Reserve 50 days after Avni was killed.
Maharashtra PCCF (Wildlife) Nitin Kakodkar told The Indian Express, “We are still tracking him. But all his movements are at night when our Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) prohibits us from using a tranquillisation shot. It is as if he got wind of our SOP restriction.”
Avni, was shot dead by officials after a September 2018 order from the Supreme Court said Avni could be shot at sight. She was said to have been responsible for the death of 13 people. The order had prompted a flurry of online petitions seeking pardon.
Huffpost Indiahad reported that activists across the country had wanted Avni to be tranquilised, captured and relocated, and the forest department, which has given an order to kill her if tranquilisation is not possible. Jerryl Banait, a wildlife activist based in Nagpur had said, “The forest department is depending on visual citing, pug marks and camera traps, but this doesn’t prove that she is a man-eater. She remains in her territory in the forest and has not fed on human flesh. It was the human intrusion into her territory which led to these deaths but there are seven other tigers roaming around in the same area. If she is problematic, then capture and relocate her.”
Activist had also said there was no concrete evidence of her having killed 13 people.