Nagpur: One of the two cubs of the hunted tigress ‘T1’ alias ‘Avni’, was rescued from the Maharashtra forest on Saturday, said a senior Maharashtra forest officer. The cub was taken to Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh for rehabilitation purpose. The cub was tranquilised and captured from Anji forest in Yavatmal district in east Maharashtra by a joint team of officials from Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh forest departments. Earlier when the two cubs of Avni which were discovered roaming in the forest, officials said that they could be rescued for rehabilitation.

A report by News 18 quoted Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Wildlife East, Nagpur, Sunil Limye as saying, “The one-year-old female cub was tranquilised and caught at compartment no 665 in the Anji forest in Ralegaon at around 4 pm.” The cub is physically fit. It will be sent to an enclosure in Pench that is like an open forest, stated Limye. He added that a committee will soon be created to take decisions on when the cub would be released into the wild.

The two cubs of Avni is christened as C1 and C2. Earlier, the Maharashtra forest department had ‘commissioned’ four elephants from Kanha Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh to capture the two half-adult cubs. Officials stated that the cubs are capable of hunting on their own.

Avni, the six-year-old tigress and mother of two 11-month-old cubs, was hunted in a controversial manner by sharpshooter Asgar Ali, son of sharpshooter Nawab Shafat Ali on November 2, 2018. The tigress had allegedly killed at least killed 13 persons since June 2016. According to reports, locals had celebrated the death of the tigress by bursting crackers.

The controversial death of tigress Avni triggered a war of words between the forest minister in Maharashtra and union minister Maneka Gandhi, both belonging to Bharatiya Janata Party.

(With Agency inputs)