MUMBAI: Veteran animal rights campaigner and former head of Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) Dr. Chinny Krishna has now lent his support to the ongoing campaign to save the tigress T1 (Avni) and her cubs at the forest range in Yavatmal. Dr. Krishna has joined hands with the “Let Avni Live” group of activists to state that killing the tigress is not a solution to this issue of human-animal conflict in Maharashtra forest. Activist Anand Siva, who is also campaigning to save the life of Avni, informed that they are also urging citizens to give a missed call to the phone number 8080740440, as this will further garner support for this wildlife cause.
This has boosted the efforts of the activists who had recently also met chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and forest minister S Mungantivar to showcase how their online campaign on this matter has earned over 85000 digital signatures and also 9000 citizens have written to the state and central authorities about their forest and wildlife concerns. “Human-animal conflicts are inevitable given the massive urbanisation we are seeing, but killing tigers isn’t a solution. I’m glad the campaign is now becoming a citizens’ movement, it will only help find solutions with more public participation and government support,” stated D.r Krishna, who is currently chairman emeritus of FIAPO (Federation of Indian Animals Protection Organizations).
Last Tuesday, a team consisting of Siva, Dr. Sarita Subramaniam, Dr. P V Subramaniam of the Earth Brigade Foundation, petitioners who had challenged the government orders to shoot at sight T1 tigress Avni, had met CM Fadnavis and forest minister to further stress their point of view on this sensitive matter
“Our campaign has received incredible support from all quarters, in India and abroad. Over 85,000 people have signed the petition online, and nearly 9,000 have sent emails to the ministers through the Big Cat Rescue support site. We are now reaching out to the citizens in Maharashtra to join hands, come forward and help to let the government know that we are not giving up on our forests, wildlife, rivers, and mountains — this is no longer a fight just to save the tigress, it’s a larger movement to retain and restore the green cover of Maharashtra today, and all of India tomorrow,” asserted Siva.
Already, Mumbai based activists have held a rally to Save Avni at Bandra, as they urged the state government to stop hiring any trigger happy hunter (Shafat Ali Khan) to kill the tigress, and instead try to capture her alive with tranquilizers so that she can be relocated to a safer forest region.
The state forest officials had declared the adult tigress T1 at Pandharkawda forest region as `maneater’ after 13 humans were found killed. While the Nagpur bench of the high court had allowed the department to take appropriate measures, including the killing of T1 if required, the activists want the state to tranquilize the tigress as it will be tragic to kill India’s national animal
within its own natural forest surroundings.