Why should a hu­man-eat­ing ti­gress shine bright?

Khaleej Times - - OPINION - Rajendra aneja

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?

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