Wildlife activists demand FIR against Avni's shooter

Activists have demanded stern action by the forest department against the shooter.

Mumbai: Wildlife activists have demanded that sharpshooter Asghar Ali be booked under the Wildlife Act for violating laws while shooting the tigress Avni. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) report mentions that the shooting of T1 tigress was not an act of self-defence and that the darting process was illegal as it was used in the absence of a vet. Activists have demanded stern action by the forest department against the shooter.

“We have been pointing out that the whole process of the operation pertaining to removing Avni from the forest area was flawed. Now that the report has highlighted that the shooting and the darting was illegal, stern action should be taken in the matter,” said Dr. Jerryl Banait, wildlife conservationist who had filed a PIL in the Supreme Court asking for a stay on the shoot-at-sight order for Avni.

The report stated that the darting of T1 by Mukbhir Sheikh was unauthorised, as he was authorised only to identify T1 or her cubs. The dart fired by Sheikh to immobilise T1 was prepared by Dr Kadu on October 31 at 2 pm but was used after lapse of approximately 56 hours on November 2 at 11pm. Dr Kadu had advised Mukhbir to use the dart in his presence and within 24 hours. “Neither Mukhbir or Asghar, whose primary duty was to carry out efforts to tranquilise and capture T-1, cared for the expert’s advice,” read the report. It also highlighted the fact that the dart was fired from approximately 12.8 meters distance when T1 was on its natural path, crossing the road, probably moving towards a nallah.

T1 continued moving even after darting on her natural path while snarling and growling at the team probably because of disturbance due to the dart, the moving vehicle and the spotlight. Within 3-5 seconds, Khan took one of the guns and shot T1 from the moving vehicle. “The T1 was stunned by the impact and died on the spot. In view of the facts, the firing in self-defence is doubtful,” read the report.

Wildlife activists will be moving the high court on the matter alleging lack of action on the rescue operation of the cubs of tigress and the illegal shooting of the tigress. The NTCA has given the state forest department 15 days time to respond.

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