Tigress Avni's necropsy report reveals cover-up: She was not tranquilised, dart was inserted 'subcutaneously'

Mumbai: Tigress Avni died due to excessive internal haemorrhage and cardio-respiratory failure and her stomach and intestines were filled with fluid and gas, indicating she had not hunted or eaten for 4-5 days, according to a provisional necropsy report.

The tigress, which was believed to have turned man-eater and killed 13 people in the last two years in Yavatmal district's Pandharkawda area, was shot dead in Borati forest on last Friday.

The examination, conducted by veterinarians of various institutions, has also revealed that two "major" parts of the bullet, used to kill the 119 kg tigress, were observed and that it died due to excessive internal haemorrhage and cardio-respiratory failure.

 Tigress Avnis necropsy report reveals cover-up: She was not tranquilised, dart was inserted subcutaneously

Camera trap images of tigress Avni. Images courtesy Ankita Virmani

Explaining the contents of the report, a wildlife expert said, "Observation of fluid and gas, without any solid content, means that the tigress had not hunted or eaten for about 4-5 days. However, it is commonly observed in large cats that they eat 25-30 kg meat on a single day and do not eat for 7 days at a stretch."

The necropsy report states that a circular punctured wound on the skin of 0.5 cm diameter on left thoracic region was found and that the gunshot was fired from below the left scapular caudal angle.

Explaining the report, the wildlife expert said the shot was fired from the left side of the chest and hit the scapula (shoulder bone) near the shoulder and punctured the lungs.

Interestingly, the report further says a dart on the middle of the left thigh cranially was observed and that 5 ml capacity plastic dart with stabilisers and 1.5 inch collared needle "placed subcutaneously" was observed.

It added that fascia (connective tissue underneath the skin) beneath the darted needle was intact. The wildlife expert said, ideally, the dart should have pierced the muscular region so that the tranquilising fluid can be absorbed by the blood.

"However, the report indicates that the dart did not even pierce through fascia (in between muscle and skin), which does not have blood supply, and just punctured the skin," the expert said. The killing of T1, as the tigress was officially known, led to outrage among animal lovers and wildlife organisations.

Union minister Maneka Gandhi had lashed out at the Maharashtra government and had dubbed it a "ghastly murder".
The Maharashtra government, however, defended itself calling the incident "sad" but necessary after the tigress attacked forest staff trying to tranquilise it.

Avni was the mother of two 10-month-old cubs.

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Updated Date: Nov 12, 2018 07:40:39 IST