'Man eater' tigress Avni (T1) shot dead: Post-mortem shows she hadn't eaten in days

Updated: 09 November, 2018 08:23 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

State forest department floods area with 100 personnel to look for year-old cubs, worried they may also be starving

Tigress T1 was shot dead by Asghar, Nawab Shafat Ali Khan's son
Tigress T1 was shot dead by Asghar, Nawab Shafat Ali Khan's son

Are tigress T1's cubs starving to death? The big cat's post-mortem report, a copy of which is with mid-day, states: "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.

Sources from the forest department (FD) team on ground told mid-day that more than 100 of its members started a combing operation early yesterday to search for the cubs but haven't had any luck so far. They have also placed baits at many places, so that the cubs don't starve. Over the last two days, there has been information coming in that the male cub was found giving calls in the area where T1 was shot, but there isn't any photographic evidence of it.

While Nawab Shafat Ali Khan was roped in for the operation, it was his son Asghar who killed the tigress. File pics
While Nawab Shafat Ali Khan was roped in for the operation, it was his son Asghar who killed the tigress. File pics

Vet analysis
Expert veterinarian Dr Prayag H S, a senior PhD research scholar, KVAFSU-Bengaluru, who was earlier part of the operation to capture T1 and has seen the post-mortem report, said, "I am worried about the cubs... [Going by the report] her stomach was almost empty when she was shot. If she was hungry, it's obvious her cubs must have been too. On Friday, it will be a week since T1's killing; I fear they will starve to death. I am with the FD in its hour of need, but I want it to act at the earliest and locate the cubs by placing multiple baits.

"The tall unscientific claims made by Shafat Ali Khan and Asghar regarding some saliva test are just that — ridiculous and baseless. I have not come across anything called as a saliva test in my scientific research, unless they mean DNA tests." The vet added that the department should have followed his suggestion of capturing the cubs first to lure in the tigress. He has also questioned the way in which T1 was darted. "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.

Nawab Shafat Ali Khan
Nawab Shafat Ali Khan

"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." The provisional diagnosis part in the post-mortem report states: "In our opinion, the tigress has died of excessive internal haemorrhage and cardio-respiratory failure."

Samples sent
Skin samples and muscle pieces collected from the area where the tigress was shot have been sent to the Regional Forensic Laboratory in Nagpur for ballistic and chemical analysis. The dart with collared needle along with pierced skin of the left thigh, and muscle piece [from] near the darted site (left thigh) will be analysed for information on xylazine, ketamine or whether any other tranquilliser or anaesthetic drug was used. Other items sent to the lab for analysis are a urine sample, heart blood, two pieces of bullet retrieved from the carcass, bone and muscle pieces adhering to the area the bullet was lodged in, and pieces of ribs broken by the bullet.

Also Read: Shooter who killed tigress Avni (T1) says acted on Maharashtra state order

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First Published: 08 November, 2018 07:15 IST

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