The forest department is all set to hunt or capture a tiger, T1 or Avni with Cane Corso dogs in a tow at Pandharkawda in Nagpur. The problem tigress as she is called, is known to have killed at least ten people and has devoured a major portion of one of the victims, hence earning itself the tag of a maneater.
While hunters are doing their job, Twitterati and animal lovers are up in arms against the hunt, asking them to capture the elusive tiger instead of hunting it. Unfortunately, Avni has two baby cubs in a tow, and are worried that they wouldn’t survive if the mother were to be gone.
The Corbett way
What would the country’s most famous hunter, who was also a naturalist and the person who knows the most about tigers would have done? Since Corbett is long gone, we can only refer to what he said about maneaters. In spite of being a hunter, Corbett disliked the phrase ‘bloodthirsty as a hunter’. He believed that the one who coined it is ignorant of the animal that has been defamed.
According to Corbett, human meat is not a tiger’s natural food. But why do they hunt and eat humans? “A man-eating tiger is a tiger that has been compelled, through stress of circumstances beyond its control, to adopt a diet alien to it. The stress of circumstances is, in nine cases out of ten, wounds, and in the tenth case old age,” he says in the book, Man-Eaters of Kumaon. There have been cases that Corbett has recorded where tigers ‘accidentally’ turned maneaters by chance encounters with humans, giving them the idea that humans can satisfy their hunger.
Driven by necessity
Corbett also believed that not all tigers who kill can be termed man-eaters. Tigers with young cubs who are disturbed, a wounded tiger or a tiger on a fresh kill, can hurt or kill human beings. However, these cannot be classified as dangerous maneaters who hunt for human flesh.
“Personally I would give a tiger the benefit of the doubt once, and once again, before classing it as a man-eater, and whenever possible I would subject the alleged victim to a post-mortem before letting the kill go down on the records as the kill of a tiger or a leopard,” he says in the same book.
That brings us to the question. Should Avni’s life be spared?
What is the right way?
We no longer live in the times of princely states where Kings and princes organized hunts for rogue animals that killed villagers. The tables have turned, and fewer animals are alive and thriving. However, one thing is common. Villagers around Pandharkawda are in danger as some of them have died. Added to that, the forest department has taken the drastic step of hunting it down only after two months of failed attempts to capture it. Now, who is right? Please tell us what you think, in the comments section, below.
There's a protest to help save #Avni, the tigress, and her two cubs at Carter Road, Bandra, near the Amphitheatre today at 5 pm. #Mumbai, please spread the word and help save her. #LetsSaveAvni pic.twitter.com/iHriIbfbNm
— Shraddha (@DamselAndDogs) October 7, 2018
Most revered Sir,
A humble request to please withdraw the shoot at sight order for Avni the tigress in Maharashtra. She's mother of two cubs and there is no evidence that she is a man-eater. The jungle is her home. #LetAvniLive
— Manisha C Sharma (@suddenphenomena) October 6, 2018
#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. Its a shameful moment for India – need all of media to raise it and raise NOW to stop the killing! #LetAvniLive @letavnilive
— anand siva (@anandsiva) October 5, 2018
|Tigers of India |
India is known to be home to three-fourths of the world’s tiger population. It also proudly showcases the Royal Bengal tiger as it national animal. However, in India which is overpopulated with its ever-increasing and masses struggling for space are encroaching into forests, taking away their home and game. As a result, our tiger population has heavily dwindled over the decades. While conservation efforts are yielding results, we have fewer tigers who can survive a country that is rapidly urbanizing itself.
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