The Delhi zoo suffered a horrible setback Friday when one of its Royal Bengal tigresses' was killed by a tiger brought in recently from the Mysore zoo for breeding purposes.
Being a Friday, the zoo was closed to the public and authorities used the day to initiate mating.
The tiger was released into the female's enclosure at around 5pm and it immediately picked a fight with the tigress.
"While this kind of behaviour is perfectly normal for the animals meeting for the first time, this time round, the tiger turned far too violent with the tigress," said Dr S Pannirselvem, the zoo's veterinarian.
By the time zoo staffers realized that it was not innocent play and tried to use sticks and rods to separate the fighting tigers, it was too late. "Such incidents are common in the wild, but it is a first for the Delhi zoo," a zoo official said.
The tigress, named Zinzin, was born at the zoo in 2004.
In the last 18 months the Delhi zoo has lost all its male Royal Bengal Tigers, many due to old age and natural causes.
The National Zoological Park – popularly known as Delhi zoo – decided to launch an ambitious breeding programme and brought in one adult male from Bhopal and two from Mysore zoo to mate with the three females left.
But after Friday's mishap, the zoo is now left with two female and three male Royal Bengal Tigers. It also has six White Tigers, two of them male.