THE 20-YEAR-OLD Royal Bengal tigress, Malti of Van Vihar National Park, Bhopal, died early Friday morning. Born on March 22, 1987, the tigress died at about 5 am due to age- related complications, Van Vihar Director Jasbeer Singh
Chauhan said. He added the tigress had been paralytic since birth and was never on display throughout her life.
“She was kept in a separate enclosure for life and visitors were never able to see her in the open,’’ Chauhan said. Malti had paralyses in the hind limbs and, of late, even her fore limbs had been affected. Van Vihar veterinarians and other veterinary experts were treating the tigress after she became weak and fragile for the past few days, Chauhan stated.
There are nearly a dozen other tigers and lions in the national park that have crossed their average life span and are quite old, according to authorities.
Almost all the lions rescued from the Rajmahal Circus recently are old and some of them suffer from certain ailments too. Among the lions, Raja is the eldest at 20 years of age, Ramu is 18, Badal is 17. Four lions — Amar, Akbar, Anthony and Johny — are 16 years old, Chauhan said.
Deceased Malti’s brother tiger Chotu is also nearly 20 years old, while White tiger Kiku, brought from New Delhi, is 14-and-a-half-year old. Besides, another tigress Rehana is 18-and-a-half-year-old and tiger Indra and tigress Indrani both are 16-and-a-half, Chauhan added.
Average age of tigers and lions was usually 14-15 years. However, due to the health facilities and veterinary specialists’ care available to animals, particularly the big cats, in Van Vihar they lived even beyond average age quite healthily, Chauhan stated.