Who was Avni?

Stigmatized as being a “Man-Eater”, Avni (T1) turned a victim of unscrupulous political agenda and human’s greed for cash. The tigress, T1, as she was known officially, was killed in Yavatmal district of the state of Maharashtra as part of an operation undertaken by the Forest Department.

Avni was shot dead by a sharp-shooter who had no prior authorisation and wasn’t part of the official team thus violating Supreme Court’s order of attempts to be made to tranquillize the tiger and eliminate her if only the aforementioned wasn’t possible.

Avni (T1) was executed without any regard for the Supreme court ruling. Avni was a six-year-old tigress and had two ten-month-old cubs that depended on her for survival and lived in Pandharkawda forest area.

Avni had migrated with a mate and they would have inevitably begun breeding which would have sprung the tiger population in the very forest land that several industrial groups were eyeing to develop industrial estates. For just some meagre and quick buck her forest lands were signed off. This was Avni’s home, and we FAILED her.

Fortunately, tiger habitats are protected lands under the wildlife act protection act 1972. Thus, Avni was in the way of those who wanted absolutely a share in the forest land. And the only way to get rid of her was by spreading rumours that she was a “man-eater”.

It’s very easy to mislead the residents of Yavatmal, often referred to as “farmers’ suicide capital of India”. Years of neglect of local farmers, successive droughts, lack of irrigation, missed monsoons, mounting debts and frequent crop failures have brought the region to its knees. Promised loan reliefs never came.

The situation is such that people are even ready to kill themselves for a paltry compensation of 800000, so that their families may survive to see another day. Claiming compensation from wildlife deaths is more profitable than from death by consuming pesticide.

Owing to this pre-existent situation it became convenient to pin the moniker of a man-eater on Avni (T1). The 13 deaths that took place in two years, natural or unnatural, began to be attributed to her. However, the move to label the tigress as a “man-eater” was believed to have been taken without any conclusive DNA evidence in complete violation of the guidelines of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

Post Mortem was done only on 3 bodies out of the 13 and only 2 showed Tiger evidence. According to the autopsy reports Avni was out of food for several days, which as per the wildlife expert, was not at all normal for 6 years old man-eater tigress.

Tons of proofs and documents of violation of procedures while capturing Avni T1 have been making the headlines in Media.India wants a probe! We want justice. Questions are many, but no answers from the very forest department that was charged with protecting wildlife.

Avni (T1) has sparked up a global movement, but what about the remaining Tigers are they on their way to extinction too?

The plight of wildlife in India is at the lowest low. We as citizens of this country have to come together and fight for conservation of wildlife and the injustice melted out on Avni who was only trying to protect her cubs and survive. Let us join hands and pledge to save our National Animal from total annihilation.

Avni was murdered and She has left us her cubs and echo of her roars. Our fight for her justice will not die down! We became the #VoiceOfAvni.