New Delhi: Animal rights body PETA India on Saturday said the killing of a tiger as part of an operation in Maharashtra should be investigated and treated as a wildlife crime and termed it a "dark day" for the nation.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India said the tiger Avni was killed "illegally to satisfy a hunter's lust for blood", in contempt of court and in apparent violation of the Wildlife Protection Act.
Tigress Avni, believed to have been responsible for the deaths of 13 people in Maharashtra in the past two years, was shot dead in Yavatmal district of Maharashtra on Friday night as part of an operation, police said on Saturday.
"Avni was killed illegally satisfying a hunter's lust for blood, plain and simple, in possible contempt of court and in apparent violation of the Wildlife Protection Act and the guidelines of National Tiger Conservation Authority.
"She may not have died instantly but slowly, through pain and blood loss, and likely in front of her now orphaned and vulnerable cubs," said Meet Ashar, Lead Emergency Response Coordinator, PETA India.
Ashar said "this matter must be investigated and treated as a wildlife crime".
"Whether sanctioned by the state or not, nobody can be above the law. This is a dark day for our nation and we must hang out heads in shame now, and again if this killing goes unpunished," Ashar added.
In September this year, the Supreme Court had said Avni could be shot at sight, which prompted a flurry of online petitions seeking pardon for the tigress.
For more than three months, Forest Department officials were planning to catch her with the help of latest technology.
Trained sniffer dogs, trap cameras, drones and a hang-glider, expert trackers, sharp-shooters and around 200 ground personnel were roped in for the task, officials said.
The Forest Department Friday carried out the operation in Borati with the help of sharp-shooter Asgar Ali, they said.
"Urine of another tigress and American perfume was spread in some part of the compartment, following which Avni came by sniffing it," one of the officials said.