The killing of two tigers — one each in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh — was a grim reminder of the ill-preparedness in handling human-animal conflicts, an animal protection body Tuesday said, while stressing the need for a “humane and professional” handling of animals in conflict situations. Tigress Avni, believed to have killed 13 people in the last two years, was shot dead by sharpshooter Asgar Ali in the Borati forest in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal district Friday as part of an operation. In another incident, an FIR was lodged at the Sehramau police station in Pilibhit district of Uttar Pradesh Monday against six persons and some unidentified villagers after a tiger was allegedly mowed down by a tractor.
The World Animal Protection (WAP) Tuesday said it was “dismayed” over the recent incidents of tiger killing in India. “These incidents are a grim reminder of how ill-prepared we are to handle incidents of human-animal conflict and they also threaten India’s conservation efforts. Killing of these endangered animals is never a solution. “We reiterate our original request of humane and professional handling of all animals in conflict situations, effective coordination between all departments, enhanced sensitivity among the local populace for protecting wildlife and responsible media reporting to highlight the problems involved in human-wildlife conflict situations, especially involving big cats,” Gajender K Sharma, India Country Director, WAP, said in a statement.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had Monday said preliminary reports showed that the forest department team shot at Avani in “self-defence” after it was attacked by the big cat while trying to tranquilise it. He had also said any procedural lapse would be probed even as Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan were locked in a spat over the killing of the five-year-old tigress.
In a series of tweets, Union minister Maneka Gandhi had also said the incident was nothing but a straight case of crime. “Despite several requests from many stakeholders, (Sudhir) Mungantiwar, minister for forests, Maharashtra, gave orders for the killing,” she had said.