KOLKATA: The oldest Royal Bengal Tiger in captivity in West Bengal has died at his shelter in Jaldapara forest of Alipurduar district, officials said on Monday.
Raja's 25th birthday was marked with gaiety last year by the forest department on August 23, the day he got a new lease of life in 2008 after surviving a crocodile attack, an official said.
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, Chief Wildlife Warden Debal Roy told PTI.
The carnivore died late on Sunday at the age 25 years and 10 months, the oldest for any Royal Bengal Tiger in the state, according to Roy.
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, the official said.
Based on several standard protocols to assess, the department had arrived upon the tiger's age during 2008 at 12, another forest official said.
Raja used to respond to the call of his keepers and the vets who looked after him, according to the official.
"He was like a child. He seemed to understand everything."