India’s oldest tiger, Raja, aged over 25, died at the SKB Rescue Centre here, officials said.
“With a very sad heart, this is to inform you that ‘Raja’ the tiger from SKB Rescue Center, died today morning around 3 a.m. He died at the age of 25 years and 10 months making him one of the longest surviving tigers in the country,” forest department officials said
In August 2008, ‘Raja’ was taken to the Tiger Rescue Center in South Khairbari, North Bengal after being injured by a crocodile with more than 10 injured in a territorial fight.
Veterinarian Pralay Mandal, Wildlife Guard Partha Sarthi Sinha and other staff have taken care of the big animal with great dedication and hard work in southern Khairbari, the official said. He was around 11 years old when he was taken to the rescue center in South Khairbari, and lived there for 15 years, making him the oldest tiger in the country.
“We all are in a state of mourning,” officials said. District Magistrate of Alipurduar, Surendra Kumar Meena, Directorate of Forests in Jaldapara, Dipak M and other officers of the forest department and district administration along with zoo staff paid homage to Raja. In January 2014, the then oldest tiger living in a captive environment, 26-year-old Guddu, died at the Kanpur zoo in Uttar Pradesh.
Although there are about 100 tigers in the mangrove forests of the Indian Sundarbans, the rivers are inhabited by estuarine crocodiles. Human-animal conflicts are common in this part of the state, where villagers are often attacked and killed by tigers, crocodiles and venomous snakes.