Environment activists are protesting the shooting of a tiger by forest officials in Kerala Dec 2. The wild cat had killed 14 domestic cattle heads in several villages of Wayanad district.
The Kerala chapter of the Wildlife Protection Society of India, in a missive to the state government, has threatened to move court against the killing, saying "there was no evidence to substantiate that the animal was a threat to life and property of human beings".
The society cited the Wildlife Protection Act to push its argument on the clause that "chief wildlife warden issues an order to hunt tiger, a national animal (Schedule 1 animal and part of Schedule 2 animals) only if it is proved that it is a threat to life and property".
"Even if it is a man-eater, it should be proved authentically. Until then, no such order should be issued. The order to hunt the animal was illegal," S. Guruvayurappan, a senior functionary of the Wildlife Protection Society of India, said in a statement.
The green lobby is up in arms because Kerala and Karnataka governments, which jointly conducted the operations, killed the tiger after they failed to tranquilise it.
A section of green campaigners challenged the governments' decision to kill the tiger "instead of neutralising it with tranquilisers".
Wayanad District Collector K. Gopalakrishna Bhatt said "though the forest department officials had tried to tranquilise the tiger, shooting down the animal was the only option left".
The 12-year-old tiger had spread terror in villages of Naikatty, Kottamkara and Muthanga on the Kerala-Karnataka border, killing as many as 14 domestic cattle heads.
Karnataka forest officials said the Kerala Forest Department could not bring the tiger down with two rounds of tranquilisers initially because of the agitated mob, forcing forest officials from Karnataka to kill the animal.
A petition by senior representatives of wildlife organisations in Kerala demanded urgent action from Tiger Conservation Authority and the prime minister so that tigers were not killed anywhere else in the country.
The sdignatotries included S. Guruvayurappan of the Wildlife Protection Society of India, Tony Thomas, director of the legal cell of One Earth One Life, Aravindakshan P. of Aashrayam Rural Development Society, Arumughan Pathichira, chairman of Haritha Development Association, and Prasanth Randedath, Kerala coordinator of Nirmuktha.
Seeking answers to posers, the petitioners demanded that "even after shooting two tranquiliser darts, why did the staff kill the tiger?"
They wanted to know the "identity of the shooter", and asked whether it was his intention "to murder the animal and who authenticated that the tiger shot down was the cattle lifter".
"What will be the future of remaining tigers in the Wayanad landscape?" the petition said.