After almost three months of search which involved drones, elephants and expert shooters, tigress Avni (T1) believed to be responsible for the deaths of 13 people over the last two years, was killed in Maharashtra's Yavatmal on Friday. But the animal rights activists had strongly opposed forest officials' decision to issue a shoot at sight order for the leonine creature and a petition on online platform change.org to save tigress Avni and her two cubs garnered over 54,000 signatures.
At the time, the petitioners told a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta that if the tigress was shot dead, both her cubs would not be able to survive in the forest.
For almost three months, a team of 150 people equipped with the latest technology, elephants and so-called expert trackers and shooters were on a quest to find Avni.
Her postmortem will be conducted at Nagpur's Gorewada Rescue Centre, the ANI reported. The tigress was killed by a single shot.
"Avni, who was known in Pandharkawda forest area, had killed 13 people over the last two years in the region", the official said.
The operation came after almost three months of a massive hunt for the tigress undertaken with the help of trap cameras, drones, trained sniffer dogs and a hang-glider along with a team of forest department officials and spotters.
However, she is said to have attacked the team who found her and she was shot by Ashgar Ali Khan, the son of India's most famous hunter Nawab Shafath Ali Khan. Speaking to ThePrint, he had said, "The NTCA prohibits darting of animals at night, and during the day, it is impossible to spot her".
The BBC reported that T-1 and her two cubs killed three people in Pandharkawada, located in the Yavatmal district in India.
The undulated, pebbly and stony terrain of the area presented several challenges for the forest officials, forcing it to request trained elephants to track Avni. His DNA was found on one of the bodies, forest officials have said.
Sources familiar with the ground situation charged on Saturday that T1's killing amounted to cold-blooded murder. On 11 September, the Supreme Court heard the petitions challenging the Bombay High Court's decision which gave the forest department a go-ahead to implement its order to tranquillize or shoot the tigress.
Avni's body was taken to a zoo in Nagpur for a post-mortem.
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". There are strict laws in force in India against the killing of wild animals.