Why should a human-eating tigress shine bright?
India is embroiled in a controversial debate regarding the shooting of a man-eating tigress, nicknamed Avni and T1. Union Minister Maneka Gandhi has said this is tantamount to murder and she has sought the dismissal of the state minister and officials. She also seems distraught about the two cubs that have been orphaned.
Maneka Gandhi should understand that the tigress was shot at the behest of the state government, with due Supreme Court sanctions. She was a man-eater and had killed 13 human beings. The hunt for the man-eater was going on for long and included more than 100 camera traps, 24-hour surveillance from treetops, five sharpshooters. It wasn’t easy. The hunters tried to tranquilise the tigress, but when she attacked the jeep in which they were travelling, she was shot dead. Farmers and rural communities had been warned not to venture out alone in the Yavatmal district in Maharashtra state. Such were the dangers posed by this tigress. The two cubs can be adopted by any zoo or wild life sanctuary in India. But has anyone spared a thought for the orphans of the 13 people killed by the tigress?
Wild animals often stray into urban centres in the north of Mumbai city, posing danger to people. Mumbai is the financial capital of India with a population of over 20 million. The fact is that with a human population of around 1.3 billion, people and animals are fighting for space to live in a crowded country and are encroaching on each other’s lands.
Animals are precious and add to the beauty and glory of our planet. However, whilst we seek to protect wild animals like lions, tigers and leopards, and even domestic animals like dogs and cows, this cannot be at the cost of human lives. In a country where 25 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line, where people die due to hunger and disease, does it make sense for a country to be obsessed with the officially sanctioned shooting of a man-eater tigress?