Almost two months after it first fell sick, an eight-and-a-half -year-old Royal Bengal tiger died at the Delhi zoo Friday afternoon. “Between 1-1.30 pm, Rama, the yellow Royal Bengal tiger, died due to multiple organ failure. Its post-mortem was conducted by a team of five veterinary doctors,” said an official. The maximum lifespan of a Royal Bengal tiger is 14-15 years.
Zoo curator R A Khan said, “The animal suffered multiple organ degenerative lesion, septicemia leading to pulmonary collapse to be co-related with histopathological findings. Tissues of the organ have been sent to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) for further examination. The cause of death will be confirmed after the result.”
Rama was born in the Mysore zoo in 2011 and “gifted” to the Delhi zoo in 2014. It was one of the three yellow Royal Bengal tigers here, and stayed at beat number 5.
Khan said, “The tiger was under treatment of veterinary doctors of the zoo and IVRI. The expert team of doctors from IVRI visited the zoo many times. On September 20, the vet doctor from MC Zoological Park, Chhatbir in Punjab visited the animal as did the team from IVRI. Unfortunately the animal died.”
Post-mortem of the animal was conducted by a veterinary doctor of Animal Husbandry department of Delhi, a senior veterinary doctor of Chhatbir zoo, an ex-medical superintendent of NDMC, a private vet and another from the Delhi zoo.
“Rama fell sick on July 29 and stopped eating. The vet officer, Dr Abhijit Bhawal, was informed and a few days later treatment began. There was no improvement in its health and for the last many days, Rama was on a liquid diet. It stopped eating entirely,” said the official. “Caretakers were on 24×7 duty for the last two months.”
On September 10, a 50-year-old zookeeper was allegedly attacked by Rama when he went to give water to the animal. A senior MOEF&CC official told The Indian Express: “An inquiry will be initiated if there is anything unnatural about the death.”
India’s oldest chimpanzee who lives at the Delhi zoo, 59-year-old Rita, has also been sick for over 10 days, an official said.