Tiger at the Metro Richmond Zoo has Dementia - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Tiger at the Metro Richmond Zoo has Dementia

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Sad news coming out of the Metro Richmond Zoo - one of its three remaining tigers is dying.

A concerned viewer sent us video Rajah looking very frail and at times even stumbling.

The tiger is slowly fading away. Rajah is suffering from dementia and arthritis, and there's a tough decision looming for the folks at the Metro Richmond Zoo that have cared for this tiger for the last 17 years.

The Bengal tigers are quite the draw at the Metro Richmond Zoo, and if there was a star, it was Rajah - a white Bengal tiger, the zoo's first. He quickly became an icon.

But Rajah is now in the middle of the long goodbye.

"He's almost 17 years old, which in human years, that's 85 to 90," said Zoo Director Jim Andelin. "He's got arthritis. He's got dementia."

Andelin bottled-fed Rajah when he was cub. Rajah is a favorite.

"We recently did a workup. His health, his organs are functioning properly. He's eating well. He's not suffering in any way. You know, it's part of age."

He says Rajah looks so skinny because, like most older cats, he no longer holds his weight.

"It's very sad for us, because we know that we would have to make a decision if he doesn't pass on his own to euthanize him at some point," said Andelin.

A decision that may sadly be just around the corner.

"We've discussed it many times. It's just inevitable. Hopefully we won't have to make it any sooner than we have to," said Andelin.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture enforces the Animal Welfare Act and inspects zoos. A spokesperson said the inspectors are aware of the ailing tiger and have kept an eye on the situation.

Copyright 2013 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

  • Latest news from NBC12.comNEWSMore>>

  • Woman hit and killed by van in Richmond

    Woman hit and killed by van in Richmond

    Saturday, September 23 2017 5:31 PM EDT2017-09-23 21:31:44 GMT
    A woman has died, after police say she was struck by a van in Richmond. Police say the woman was walking across the 1100 block of Azalea Avenue around 3 p.m. Saturday, when she was struck by a van turning left off Seminary Avenue. The driver of that van stayed on the scene. Police say the woman was already dead when they got to the scene. The driver is not facing charges at this time. The investigation continues, as police work to notify the victim's family.

    More >>

    A woman has died, after police say she was struck by a van in Richmond. Police say the woman was walking across the 1100 block of Azalea Avenue around 3 p.m. Saturday, when she was struck by a van turning left off Seminary Avenue. The driver of that van stayed on the scene. Police say the woman was already dead when they got to the scene. The driver is not facing charges at this time. The investigation continues, as police work to notify the victim's family.

    More >>

  • Amherst County Sheriff's deputy shot during traffic stop

    Amherst County Sheriff's deputy shot during traffic stop

    Saturday, September 23 2017 4:40 PM EDT2017-09-23 20:40:53 GMT
    File photo (Source: RNN)File photo (Source: RNN)

    An Amherst County Sheriff's deputy is recovering, after being shot in the head during a traffic stop Friday night. That's according to WSLS, our sister station in Roanoke. Officials say the shooting happened around 11:30 p.m. Friday, at the Monroe Post Office. The Amherst County Sheriff's Office says the passenger in the vehicle showed a handgun, and shot one of the deputy's in the head. Officials say another deputy then shot the suspect. The deputy was treated, and released fr...

    More >>

    An Amherst County Sheriff's deputy is recovering, after being shot in the head during a traffic stop Friday night. That's according to WSLS, our sister station in Roanoke. Officials say the shooting happened around 11:30 p.m. Friday, at the Monroe Post Office. The Amherst County Sheriff's Office says the passenger in the vehicle showed a handgun, and shot one of the deputy's in the head. Officials say another deputy then shot the suspect. The deputy was treated, and released fr...

    More >>
  • Better late than never? Library book returned 78 years later

    Better late than never? Library book returned 78 years later

    Thursday, September 21 2017 7:51 PM EDT2017-09-21 23:51:20 GMT
    Saturday, September 23 2017 3:01 PM EDT2017-09-23 19:01:37 GMT

    A book borrowed nearly 80 years ago during the Great Depression has been returned to a Massachusetts public library.

    More >>

    A book borrowed nearly 80 years ago during the Great Depression has been returned to a Massachusetts public library.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly