India's man-eating tiger shot dead after massive hunt

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The tigress was the mother of two 10-month old cubs and was known to hunters as T1 but Avni to wildlife lovers.

The state forest department had hired an expert hunter and sharpshooter, and mounted an extensive operation involving almost 200 personnel, trap cameras, drones, a pack of trained sniffer dogs and a hang-glider to trace her, broadcaster NDTV reported.

"The man-eater animal has been killed", a senior forest official from Nagpur said. According to the New Indian Express, Asgar Ali Khan, son of the controversial Hyderabad-based shooter Shafat Ali Khan, killed the tigress when she attacked the hunting team. "We didn't want them to eventually become enemies of wildlife", PTI quoted Mungantiwar as saying. Animal rights activists saw them as encroachers, and argued that she couldn't be called a man-eater because she hadn't entered human habitations to kill people.

The forest department as well as the Supreme Court had earlier stated and reiterated that the primary objective of the operation was to tranquilise and capture Avni, with killing proposed only as the last alternative.

Elsewhere, TV footage showed locals celebrating and distributing candies, saying they were relieved that the terror unleashed by the tigress was over.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India said the tiger Avni was killed "illegally to satisfy a hunter's lust for blood", in contempt of court and in apparent violation of the Wildlife Protection Act. There is no update on her cubs.

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The forest department maintained that the big cat was responsible for at least nine deaths.

Hunters waited for several hours before identifying the tiger and shooting her with a tranquilizer dart, the officials said.

Last night, from 6.45 pm onwards, the tigress was sighted by many villagers.

"In a reflex action of self-defense, the shooter fired from a distance of 8 to 10 meters". There were reports that the state government made a decision to terminate his services after the intervention of Union minister Maneka Gandhi.

Nawab Shafat Ali Khan and his son Asghar Ali Khan, who shot the tigress Avani in Maharashtra rubbished claims that they were trigger happy killers. Incidentally, it was reliably learnt that many officials involved in the field operations and supervision, were not aware of a second shoot permit being issued till well after the tigress was killed. "I am definitely going to take up this case...legally, criminally as well as politically and will take up the matter very strongly with CM Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis", she tweeted.

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