New Delhi: A tigress and its two cubs were found dead in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra on Monday morning.

According to the Chief Conservator of Forest S V Ramarao, the carcasses were found near a drain in Metepur village under the Chimur forest range and the cause of death has not been ascertained yet.

“An inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of death,” said Ramarao.

Last year, protests were held against the Maharashtra government after Tigress T-1 or Avni was shot dead for allegedly attacking the forest staff, who were trying to tranquillise her.

Later, a report tabulated by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) observed that Tigress Avni was not aggressive and her reaction was mistaken by an “inexperienced” shooter.

There was a huge uproar when the reports came out and Maneka Gandhi, the then Women and Child Development minister, even went on to ask Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to consider sacking the state’s Forest minister.

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray had claimed that Avni was killed by the government to “save” a proposed project of industrialist Anil Ambani in Yavatmal, a charge denied by the corporate group as well as a district official.

Tigers come under schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, which provides absolute protection and offences under these are prescribed the highest penalties.

The Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, which is home to a number of striped animals, is located in Chandrapur district, which is around 680 km from Mumbai.