The oldest tiger living in a captive environment, 26-year-old Guddu, died at the Kanpur zoo in Uttar Pradesh late Wednesday night, officials said. The death of the royal Bengal tiger came as a shock to the Kanpur zoo management, which was planning to seek Guddu’s entry in the Guinness World Records, as the male tiger was said to be the oldest surviving wild cat in the world. Confirming the death, Kanpur zoo director K. Thomas told IANS that Guddu had stopped eating since Jan 9. Veterinarians at the zoo had put him on vitamins and boneless meat, as he had lost all his teeth. While the average life span of a tiger varies between 14 to 16 years, Guddu had lived on for over 26 years, according to records available with the zoo, Thomas said. The fine feline came to the Kanpur zoo from the Chandigarh zoo in 2001. He was later shifted to the Lucknow zoo. Records at the time of his entry into the Kanpur zoo put his age at 13. He was brought back to Kanpur from Lucknow in 2008.
The longest surviving tiger earlier was 24-year-old Ramu, a male tiger at the Jaipur zoo, who died of cardiac arrest in September 2010.
The record for the longest living royal Bengal/Siberian tiger currently is held by 25-year-old Flavio, which retired to “Big Cat Rescue” in Tampa, Florida, in 2002. Kanpur zoo officials said an autopsy has been conducted on Guddu, who will be cremated within the zoo premises Thursday.