Raja, the oldest Royal Bengal Tiger in captivity in West Bengal has died at his shelter in Jaldapara forest under Alipurduar district.
Last year, Raja’s 25th birthday was marked with gaiety by the forest department on August 23, the day got a new lease of life in 2008 after surviving a crocodile attack.
According to Chief Wildlife Warden Debal Roy, Raja did not show any symptoms of serious illness in recent times and the vets diagnosed the cause of his death as old-age-related problems, which may surface all of a sudden.
The carnivore died at the age 25 years and 10 months, the oldest for any Royal Bengal Tiger in the state, Roy shared.
However, the official could not confirm before crosschecking whether Raja was the oldest Royal Bengal Tiger in the country as well, adding that the big cats don’t usually live beyond 20 years.
Raja, who had been taken to the South Khayerbari Tiger Rescue Centre since 2008, walked on a prosthetic limb after the original got severed in the crocodile attack while swimming across a creek in the Sunderbans, he further said.
In 2008, the department had arrived upon the tiger’s age as 12 based on several standard protocols to assess the age.
Raja used to respond to the call of his keepers and the vets who looked after him, the official said, adding that “he was like a child. He seemed to understand everything.”