Man-eating tiger shot dead in India after massive hunt

Tiger T1 lay dead after being shot in the forests of India's Maharashtra state near Yavatmal. (AFP Photo/ Maharashtra Forest Department)
Updated 03 November 2018

Man-eating tiger shot dead in India after massive hunt

  • A team of more than 150 people had spent months searching for tihe man0eating tiger after it killed 20 peoiple
  • The tiger was killed at night, when tranquilizers are not allowed to be used, local media claim

MUMBAI: A man-eating tiger that claimed more than a dozen victims in two years has been shot dead in India, sparking controversy over the legality of its killing.
One of India’s most high-profile tiger hunts in decades ended Friday night when the mother of two 10-month old cubs — known to hunters as T1 but Avni to wildlife lovers — was shot dead in the jungles of Maharashtra state.
A team of more than 150 people had spent months searching for T1, using a paraglider and dozens of infrared cameras while sharpshooters had ridden on the backs of elephants.
However, disputes quickly erupted after the killing as media reports said the tiger was shot in Yavatmal forest with no attempt to tranquilize her.
India’s Supreme Court had issued a hunting order for T1 — blamed for 13 deaths since June 2016 — in September, ruling that she could be killed if tranquilizers failed. Several appeals were made against the death sentence.
The tiger was killed at night, when tranquilizers are not allowed to be used, according to the Times of India and other media outlets.
T1 is said to have been shot dead by Ashgar Ali Khan, son of India’s most famous hunter Nawab Shafath Ali Khan, who was meant to be leading the hunt but was not present Friday night.
Forestry officials and the hunter did not answer calls to give details of the hunt.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests A.K. Mishra told The Indian Express newspaper that a forest staffer had managed to dart the tiger with a tranquilizer at around 11 p.m.
“But she charged at the team, forcing Ashgar to shoot in self-defense,” he said. “The tigress lay dead in a single shot.”However Mishra’s account was contradicted by other reports, while many groups condemned the way the killing was conducted.
The Times of India quoted sources involved in the hunt as saying it looked as though a tranquilizer dart had been put into the tiger’s corpse after the killing. The sources said the dart had not been fired.
Forestry officials acknowledged to Indian media that no vet was present during the hunt, as required by the Supreme Court order.
Jerryl Banait, a vet and activist in Karnataka state who had launched appeals against the order, described the shooting as “cold-blooded murder.”
“Avni was killed illegally satisfying a hunter’s lust for blood,” said the Indian branch of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) group.
It said India’s Wildlife Protection Act and National Tiger Conservation Authority rules had been flouted, calling for the matter to be “investigated and treated as a wildlife crime.”
The tiger’s body has been taken to a zoo in the city of Nagpur for a post-mortem.
Despite the disputed circumstances, villages around the town of Pandharkawda celebrated the death with relief.
T1 claimed her first victim, a woman whose body was found in a cotton field, in June 2016. Since then most of the dead were male herders.
India has launched a major campaign to boost tiger numbers. At the last tiger census in 2014 the number had risen to more than 2,200 from a low of less than 1,500.
But urban spread as the population of 1.25 billion grows has increasingly eaten into the territory of wild animals.
Endangered elephants and tigers kill on average one person a day, according to government figures.


Mumbai hospital shut after surge in coronavirus cases among staff

Updated 06 April 2020

Mumbai hospital shut after surge in coronavirus cases among staff

  • Wockhardt Hospital has been declared a ‘containment zone’ after the cases were confirmed
  • Mumbai, home to 12.5 million people according to the 2011 census, has so far confirmed 458 cases

MUMBAI: A major private hospital in Mumbai was shut to new patients and declared a coronavirus containment zone on Monday after 26 nurses and three doctors tested positive, an official said.
Since the virus hit India — which has been under lockdown since March 25 with 109 deaths so far — medical workers have complained about not being given adequate protective gear.
Mumbai city authority spokesman Vijay Khabale-Patil said that the Wockhardt Hospital has been declared a “containment zone” after the cases were confirmed.
“Three hundred staffers have been quarantined and the hospital is shut,” he said.
The United Nurses Association (UNA) in Mumbai accused hospital management of failing to protect staff by refusing to let them wear appropriate safety gear.
“They told the medical staffers to wear simple (surgical) masks... and attend to the patient,” said Akash S. Pillai, UNA general secretary for Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital.
“They were thinking that if the staff wore protective gear, family members of COVID-19 patients would get scared,” he said.
“Many well-known hospitals in Mumbai and Pune are putting their staffers through the same risks,” he said.
He added that Wockhardt waited too long to carry out tests on its staff, thereby increasing the possibility for infections to spread.
India has so far recorded over 4,000 coronavirus cases.
But experts caution the real numbers are likely to be far higher, with the country carrying out little testing of its 1.3 billion population compared to many other countries.
Mumbai, home to 12.5 million people according to the 2011 census, has so far confirmed 458 cases, including five in the Dharavi area, home to one of Asia’s biggest slums, and 30 deaths.