Avni, the tigress was murdered in a premeditated attack ordered by the Maharashtra Forest Department on 2nd November, 2018 despite mercy pleas and availability of humane alternatives.
Avni is survived by her two cubs. I have been fighting in order to place responsibility for the said murder and to rescue the tigress’s cubs and have faced harassment and intimidation for the same. It would sadden you to note that the postmortem report of Avni revealed that the poor animal had not eaten for 5 days. That means the cubs too would have been hungry and it’s been another 13 days since.
The Maharashtra Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) AK Mishra has indicated today the two cubs have been spotted and are being monitored.
However in a shocking event, a pair of dead cubs have been discovered on a railway track in Chandrapur. While this incident stands to bring more shame to the already disgraced Maharashtra Forest Department, I demand that a thorough inquiry is made into the alleged accident to ascertain whether these cubs are not Avni’s children. A DNA test must be done to repudiate or confirm this.
Details of the mother of these kids must be made available and we should know lineage to confirm if she is another tigress.
There is a strong case for suspicion in this matter due to the following crucial factors:
1. The manner in which the two dead cubs lay on the railway track suggests no sign of accident, trauma or injury as such an accident may have caused. They have no hit marks, there is no blood splattered nor is their tail injured. The image, which has been widely circulated on both mainstream and social media depict a carefully doctored and sanitized image.
2. It is also unsettling to note that the forest department was prompt in declaring their ages as 6 months old without post mortem report. If, however that is true, there remains no explanation as to how such young cubs could stray so far away from their mother. Tigers are known to stick with their mothers for up to 18 months.
3. PCCF has previously made false claims regarding the manner of Avni’s death as confirmed by her postmortem report and thus has lost moral authority on the issue.
Chandrapur is Sudhir Mungantiwar’s home district and one cannot help wonder if those two dead cubs are Avni’s.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has been dithering from ordering a high level investigation. The current inquiry team is a joke as it includes those who are complicit in Avni.
Until the truth comes out and both the cubs are rescued, Maharashtra Forests Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar must resign.