21-year-old Tiger ‘Vikram’, the ‘Daddy’ of Amar, Akbar & Anthony Dies at Pilikula Zoo
- 21-year-old Tiger ‘Vikram’- the Daddy of Amar, Akbar & Anthony and seven other Cubs/Siblings, namely- Kadamba, Krishna, Vinaya, Oliver, Akshaya, Manju, and Nisha died on Monday, 26 October 2020 (Vijayadasami Day), at Pilikula Biological Park
Mangaluru: For the last two decades 21-year-old Royal Bengal Tiger had been the star attraction at the Pilikula Biological Park managed by Dr Shivarama Karantha Pilikula Nisargadhama. But sadly on Vijayadasami Day 26 October 2020, the Park lost its star attraction, Vikram to age-related illness. It is learnt that Vikram was among the first lot of big cats to arrive at Pilikula park from the Tyavarekoppa Lion and Tiger Reserve in Shivamogga in 2003, as a four-year-old cub then. In its death, it had outlived the average life expectancy for tigers in captivity.
Speaking to Team Mangalorean, H Jayaprakash Bhandary, the Director of the Park said, “While tigers on an average live for 16 to 18-years, Vikram, the third tiger to die at the park lived for 21-years. Two other big-cats namely- Raja lived up to 20 years, and Sharavathi, lived up to 22 years, and all three tigers succumbed to age-related illness. The loss of Vikram is painful since it was among the most visible and spotted Tiger in the enclosure. Vikram had ‘fathered’ Kadamba, Krishna, Vinaya, Oliver, Akshaya, Manju, Amar, Akar, Anthony and Nisha in its life-span”.
Bhandary further said, “These cubs, all as sturdy and big as Vikram have found new homes in biological parks across India – in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and even nearby Mysuru zoo. It was sad to see this big cat struggle with age-related illness including poor eyesight, loss of appetite and even failed kidney. Confined to the treatment room for the past two months, Vikram was under treatment with drips and supplements given. It stopped eating food in the past seven days, and this is when the park staff sensed its end”.
“Post mortem revealed the failure of the kidney for which it was being treated. The tiger was cremated and tissue samples sent to Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biologicals, Bengaluru as per Central Zoo Authority norms. The mortality of tigers at the Pilikula Biological Park is the least across various other biological parks in India. In the wild and in their natural environment, tigers usually live up to 15 years”.
Pilikula Zoo’s Senior Scientific Officer, Jerald Vikram Lobo speaking to Team Mangalorean said, “Losing Vikram is a great loss for the Zoo as it was easily available for public viewing. Vikram had stopped consuming food for the last week due to health issues and it succumbed at 5:00 a.m. on Monday, 26 October. He was on drips and on antibiotics, but he could not respond to medical treatment. Vikram had outlived the average life of tigers in captivity which ranges from 16 to 18 years. Pilikula Zoo houses about 1,200 animals of 120 species of mammals, reptiles and birds. Pilikula has the credit of breeding some of the endangered species of mammals, reptiles and birds of Western Ghats region. It is the only zoo to breed the King Cobra in captivity”.
The name Pilikula is derived from Tulu language, which is widely spoken in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts. In Tulu language, “Pili” means tiger and “Kula” means Lake. The name Tiger Lake is because tigers used to come to this lake to drink. It is worth noting that the park area is covered with thick vegetation, which serves as a natural habitat for wild animals. A number of free-ranging mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insects are found on the zoo premises. It also serves as a nesting ground for birds of more than 70 species recorded.
Pilikula is an integrated theme park with a wide variety of features; it has many attractions of cultural and scientific interest. Pilikula extends over an area of 400 acres along the banks of Gurupura river. The Pilikula Biological Park is one of the major attractions of Pilikula Nisarga Dhama. The park has an area of 150 acres. As per modern zoological practises, the animals are kept in spacious enclosures closely resembling their natural habitat. The park has a well equipped veterinary hospital complex with quarantine, post-treatment ward and post-mortem block, X-ray and ultrasound scanning facilities. The Central Zoo Authority has funded the construction of the hospital complex.