Mangaluru: The Pilikula Biological Park (PBP) wore a gloomy look as it lost one of its star attraction, 21-year-old tiger Vikram, died on Monday due to age related issues, zoo officials said. Also Read - Injured in fight, tiger dies in Ranthambore

“The tiger was under treatment for nearly two months as it was suffering from age related issues such as blindness, arthritis and renal failure,” the PBP director, H. Jayaprakash Bhandari told IANS from Mangaluru. Also Read - Australia's oldest captive Sumatran tiger dies

While speaking to IANS, the PBP’s senior scientific officer, Jerald Vikram Lobo said that it is a great loss for the Zoo as this was easily available for public viewing. Also Read - Paralysed white tiger dies at Pune zoo

“The 21-year-old big cat stopped consuming food for the last one week due to health issues and it succumbed at 5 a.m. on Monday, but he was on drips and on antibiotic, but he could not respond to medical treatment,” he said.

He added that the tiger had sired 10 cubs in its entire life span.

“His cubs were named Kadamba, Krishna, Oliver, Akshaya, Manju, Amar, Akbar, Anthony and Nisha. All these cubs were transferred to various zoos in India such as to Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Mysuru and Rajasthan,” he explained.

Lobo further added that Vikram was the first tiger to arrive at the PBP and this park is managed by the Dr Shivarama Karantha Pilikula Nisargadhama. “He was brought from Tyavarekoppa Lion and Tiger Safari in Shivamogga in 2003. He was a four year old cub then,” he recalled and added that he was the third tiger to die in the zoo. “Prior to him, Raja and Sharavati are other two tigers, which died after living two decades in this zoo,” he claimed.

According to him, Vikram outlived the average life of tigers in captivity which ranges from 16 to 18 years.

He added that a post-mortem was conducted prior to cremating the animal as per the Central Zoo Authority and its tissue samples were sent to a lab in Bengaluru.

Bhandari added that 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 King Cobra in captivity,” the PBP director explained.

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. Number of free ranging mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insects are found in 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 practices, 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. Central Zoo Authority has funded the construction of hospital complex.