New Delhi (NM Bureau): On government records this tigress is named T1, but animal lovers call her ‘Avni’ which means Mother Earth. First spotted in the year 2012 in the dense forests of the Maharashtra province in India, Avni is now a proclaimed man eater after 13 deaths have been attributed to her in the last two years. Around 150 ground personnel, elephants and expert trackers and shooters are out to kill her while lakhs of supporters online and offline are pleading the government to let her live on. With more and support pouring in help save Avni from being killed. A online petition launched by Avni lovers is now gaining international attention.
All animal lovers : Save Avni the tigress - Sign the Petition! https:/
— Will Travers (@willtravers) 12 October 2018
Vocal supporters of Avni say that it is the people who have encroached the habitat of the tigress and its not the other way round.
#Avni shouldn’t be saved because animal activists and celebrities are screaming themselves hoarse, regardless of the human lives lost.— Kamna Pandey (@PandeyKamna) 8 October 2018
Avni should be saved coz every killed human on the list was ILLEGALLY in the forest land, in HER ONLY HOME. #LetAvniLive #SaveAvni @narendramodi pic.twitter.com/yJnEyAuEzu
In the name of development, the govt. Is encroaching on forest land now that rightfully belongs to the wildlife. To an extent that a tigress,#Avni is given a death sentence for a crime against her that's not even proven. She is framed for corporate greed. #LetAvniLive @PMOIndia— Sadaa (@iamsadaasayed) 11 October 2018
Support for Avni is pouring in from different parts of the world.
#Avni - the tigress & her babies on the brink of elimination. They are inside the forest, helped by villagers. Large teams zeroing in on innocent lives. Need all of media to raise it and raise NOW to stop the killing! #LetAvniLive @letavnilive pic.twitter.com/IBuBkTDqEh— Ramesh Taurani (@RameshTaurani) 10 October 2018
Officials though agree that they have court orders to kill her but their first priority is to take control of the “man-eater animal.” “Our first option is of course to tranquilize her and this where we are putting all of our efforts," said Sunil Limaye, a top official of the Forest Department of Maharashtra to PTI. We don't want to kill her but it is getting increasingly more difficult to do so. The undergrowth in the area due to the lantana is so dense that one can hardly walk through it and if the tiger moves through that, to get a clear shot with a tranquilizer is practically impossible, he added. In the last ten months of the hunt for T1, government has tried all tricks but all in vain. Five elephants were brought in as a patrol squad to navigate areas that jeeps cannot. But it became impossible for the elephants in the very hot and very humid climate in the region. One of the elephant also reported to have killed a local woman in the meantime. Drones with thermal image capacity were also pressed into service but the tigress could not be spotted. While the government and the environment activist lock horns, Avni remains free and at large with her two cubs.