Tigress Avni killing: Was T1 looking away when it was shot?

Updated: 13 November, 2018 08:45 IST | Dharmendra Jore and Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

Nagpur Based Biologist raises questions over the manner in which the hunt operation of the 'man-eater' tigress was handled

In the latest twist to the never-ending controversies surrounding the killing of tigress T1 also called Avni, a post-mortem report submitted by Nagpur-based wildlife biologist Milind Pariwakam suggests that the tigress was gunned down in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal this month when it was looking away from the shooter.

The copy of the report which is in possession of mid-day states that the place where the bullet was lodged and the trajectory of the bullet indicates that the animal was facing away from the person who fired the bullet. The report also suggests that the dart found lodged in its body did not show any impact of being " fired from a syringe projector" which means a tranquillizing gun.

Avni Tigress

Report submitted by Biologist Milind Pariwakam
A report of the post-mortem conducted on Tigress T1 at Gorewada on 3rd November, 2018 submitted by Milind Pariwakam, (Wildlife Biologist - Wildlife Conservation Trust) who was present during the autopsy as the representative of Chief Wildlife Warden, Maharashtra / Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) contradicts the claim made by the forest department that the shot to kill the tigress was fired in self defence.

The biologist has raised questions about the tranquiliser found lodged on the thigh of the animal. He says, "Dart fired from a syringe projector (tranquilising rifle) always leaves a significant and obvious haematoma, which was not observed in this case." states the report

The important observation in the description of bullet entry point states, " Depicting the entry point, place where a bullet was lodged and the trajectory of the bullet that show that the animal was facing away from the person who fired the bullet."

The report also states that " The weapon remains unidentified as it was not made available at the post-mortem site. Similarly, the empty cartridge was also not available at the post-mortem site."

Mid-day has been extensively covering the entire case and the newspaper was one of the first to raise questions about the manner in which the entire operation of eliminating the tigress was conducted. In the story, Tigress Avni (T1) Shot Dead: Post-Mortem shows she had not eaten in days sources from the forest department (FD) team told mid-day that more than 100 members were deployed to look for the two cubs of tigress Avni after her autopsy report suggested she had not eaten for days and in the process her cubs were probably starving

The big cat's post-mortem report, a copy of which is with mid-day, stated: "Stomach was fluid filled and no major solid contents." This means she had come near the location where she was killed to prey on a bait, and it's highly likely that for the last one week, since her killing, the cubs haven't had anything to eat.

Talking to mid-day on November 7 , Dr Prayag H S, a senior PhD research scholar, KVAFSU-Bengaluru, who was earlier part of the operation to capture T1 and had seen the post-mortem report told mid-day that, "What surprised me was the dart didn't bounce off the tigress despite being shot from a close critical distance of 20 metres, as claimed by them, which is what should have happened. I believe the dart was placed [on the carcass]," he alleged. Adding Further , " Another point is, when darted, that portion of the skin becomes swollen when the dart goes subcutaneous, which is not seen in the picture that was taken after T1 was shot."

In an exclusive interview given to mid-day, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi also come down heavily on Maharashtra Forest Department for the manner in which the tigress was shot.

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First Published: 12 November, 2018 17:08 IST

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