Avni was hungry for days, says post-mortem report

Avni was hungry for days, says post-mortem report

Avni, the slain tigress. DH photo.

Tigress Avni was starving and hungry for days before she took a bullet in the forests of Pandharkawada division in Yavatmal district, according to the post-mortem report. This compounds the problems for the two 11-month-old cubs, who are still missing - and there is a question mark over their survival.

However, the Maharashtra forest department (MFD) had formed nine teams and set up trap cages to secure the cubs. "The entire operation was conducted unscientifically and illegally, this is not how it is done," said Dr Prayag HS, a Karnataka-based wildlife veterinarian and forensic expert.

Dr Prayag, who in the past had secured cubs earlier, said: "From day one, we have been telling that it is necessary to secure the cubs first...then the tigress could be tranquilised...however, MFD did otherwise and compounded the entire problem," he told DH over the phone. On 2 November night,  Avni was shot dead in the Borati area of Pandharkawada division of Yavatmal district after a 53-day hunt. 

The tigress was linked to 13 human deaths. The post-mortem was conducted in Nagpur - a report of which is in DH's possession.  "In our opinion,  the tigress has died of excessive internal haemorrhages and cardiorespiratory failure," states the post-mortem report signed on 5 November. 

"It is a week now that Avni has died... she was hungry when she was shot... obviously the cubs are hungry and starving.  We have a window of few days or rather hours for them to be secured," added Dr Prayag. 

The post-mortem report states that the stomach was "fluid filled and no major solid contents", small intestines was "fluid and gas-filled" and large intestines was "fluid and gas-filled". 
"She was starving at the time of death. And since the two cubs used to accompany the mother,  they too are starving," he added.  The ballistic and chemical analysis is being done at the Regional Forensic Laboratory in Nagpur and the reports are awaited.