Bombay High Court prohibits killing of Yavatmaal man-eater

Maharashtra (India) state wildlife warden AK Mishra directed the forest officials of Yavatmal to tranquilise a man-eater tigress after the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court granted a stay to shoot-at-sight order issued by him. The animal has killed 10 people over the last year.

A division bench of the high court, comprising justice Vasanti Naik and justice Arun Upadhye, while allowing urgent circulation of a petition filed by wildlife-lover Dr Sarita Subramaniam, issued notice to PCCF (Wildlife) and granted two days stay to shoot-at-sight order issued on Monday (29 January 2018).

According to the petitioner, the decision to shoot the tigress was issued hastily without any empirical evidence to justify the claim that she was a man-eater. The petitioner also demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into claims that many cases in Maharashtra where the families of alleged wildlife attack victims seek compensation without any evidence of the attack.

The principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) in his order directed the field staff to try to capture the tigress by tranquilising and adopting other methods. Shooting should be the final resort, the order stated. Even the PIL insisted that shooting should be avoided at all cost.

The forest department said that the tigress created terror in Ralegaon, Kelapur, Pandharkawda and other parts of Yavatmal, bordering Andhra Pradesh.

The forest department has set up at least eight different teams, along with veterinary doctors and forest personnel, in the area to capture and tranquilise the animal.

Though the forest department maintained that it will try to tranquilise and capture the tigress in Yavatmal, wildlife activists have questioned the poor track record of the department in locating, capturing and tranquilising the animal. (Hindustan Times)

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