In a country so obsessed with films, politics, entrepreneurship and cricket- where does Wildlife stand in the order of priorities? You don’t need any education to know that the national animal of the country is the tiger and that the national animal is under immense threat, constantly straddling the endangered list and normalcy.

But in what can be called a big jolt to India’s wildlife, it’s rather sad to announce that the only surviving Royal Bengal Tiger in the Tripura zoo has died. The news about the loss of the sole Royal Bengal Tiger was confirmed on July 21. Perhaps, it won’t be a misnomer to suggest that it’s a damning blow to the status of a waning wildlife in the country.

The deceased tiger, everyone’s favourite at Tripura’s zoo, a major tourist spot for both locals and domestic and foreign travellers was around 15-years-old. The famous Royal Bengal Tiger was known as Dipu and was quite famous, in fact, a cynosure of every visiting tourist to the famous Tripura Zoo.

Apparently, the zoo officials have suggested that the cause of the only Royal Bengal Tiger at the wildlife facility is owing to old age. There was no severe disease or medical anomaly that the animal was afflicted with. Of late, he’d been less active than what he was formerly and in the years back in time. He’d be found lazing out and mostly inactive and seemingly, resting for the most part of the day lacking energy and the usual bustle one associates with energetic young tigers.

The Tripura Zoo director- Mr Naresh Jamatiya- was speaking to the local media wherein he confirmed the demise of the zoo’s last and only Royal Bengal Tiger. In fact, the popular zoo isn’t located in the heart or midst of the city. It is located about 18 kilometres from Agartala.

The wild beast had been suffering from a visible discomfort in consumption of food and was not even eating properly where the last few days are concerned. To quote an expert, the Wildlife Warden of the sanctuary, Anjan Sen the tiger had been ill since the last six months and was on oral rehydration for 14 days.

Perhaps, sad as it may sound, it could be suggested, given the apparent discomfort, it would’ve been unimaginable how the animal would’ve borne its condition and difficult to suggest how long would it have carried on? It’s only better that Dipu is in a peaceful place now.

When last, a national census was carried out at a Pan-India level, it was reported that there were fewer than 2500 Bengal Tigers in India. The said survey was conducted back in 2011.

What’s the exact present number- one can’t submit with great confidence at this point in time.The Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Mr Ashok Kumar, in fact, confirmed Dipu’s age. The tiger was brought from Chandigarh zoo in 2006 when it was three years old, former director of the zoo, Pallab Chakraborty, told PTI.

In the recent past, the country has made tremendous efforts to conserve an animal that’s part of the ancient folklore as well as the popular culture. The tiger is a major crowd-puller where wildlife tourism of the country stands. Whether one sees sanctuaries around Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Uttarakhand or other areas- there’s an unbridled love and boundless passion for this incredibly regal creature.

While one certainly wishes that should be the way, perhaps there’s greater urgency now, more than ever, to ensure the utmost safety and protection of an already waning number of this truly one of a kind species. Can India safeguard it’s tigers in the times to come? No prediction can ever answer that.

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