Raja, the tiger, dies at Kankaria zoo
14 Apr 2009, 0026 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad : There is an unusual void at Kamala Nehru zoo in Kankaria as teary eyed keepers bid adieu to their favourite zoo member forever, Raja the Royal Bengal tiger on Monday morning.
Raja ,16, died of old age. It was in April 1998 that the five-year-old tiger was brought to Kamala Nehru zoo from Bhubeneshwar Nandan Kanan zoo. The tiger was famous because he would stroll freely in his open cage and never shied away from people. He would enthral visitors, especially children.
But the last few days had been painful for Raja. For last one week, he was suffering from severe weakness in his hind legs and had stopped eating.
“The tiger was not feeling well since March 17. He did recuperate a bit and ate at least 8 kilograms of food till a few days ago. But for the last three days Raja had stopped eating and his caretakers Ajmal Khan and Ranjithsinh Jadeja were worried. Raja was immediately given dextrose saline and neurotonics. But that did not help,” says zoo director Sahu.
Raja’s adopter Arun Thakker too was present during the cremation ceremony that took place in the zoo premises. Thakker had paid Rs 1.26 lakh to adopt the tiger and has in all adopted five animals here. Raja’s funeral took place in the presence of forest officials as tigers are Schedule I animals. Tigers are believed to have a life span of around 15 years in the wild and 18 to 20 years in captivity.
Raja’s companion Seema, 13, the tigress, is hale and hearty, say zoo officials. Recently, three-year-old Pratap and Ananya, both Royal Bengal tigers were brought by zoo authorities from Mysore zoo.
“Both Pratap and Ananya are cubs right now and will be open for adoption this year,” says a senior zoo official.