Cuttack: Nihar Nalini, who was foster parent of tigress Khairi in Similipal Tiger Reserve, died today in Cuttack due to age-related ailments. She passed away at an age of 93 at an old age home in the city.
Nihar Nalini came in contact with a female tiger cub at the Similipal Tiger Reserve in Mayurbhanj District in October 1974 where her brother Saroj Raj Choudhury was working as the Field Director of the tiger reserve.
Some locals initially found the tiger cub unattended near the Khairi river. They brought the tigress cub to Saroj Raj Choudhury and this was a special seven-year relationship between him and the big cat. Saroj Raj and sister Nihar Nalini named the tigress as ‘Khairi’ after the river.
The touching story of Khairi is immortalised in ‘Khairi The Beloved Tigress’ where aspects of tiger behavior, like territorial markings by spraying uric lipid pheromones as a sign of territory deduced. Khairi still roars in Simlipal jungles as the legends never die…🐅 (4) pic.twitter.com/fVYgdFhCrZ
— Sandeep Tripathi, IFS (@sandeepifs) July 12, 2020
Along with brother Saroj Raj, Nihar Nalini used to feed ‘Khairi’ mutton and milk powder with her hands. The bonding was so intense that the big cat used to sleep beside Nihar Nalini in the same bed.
The tigress died in 1981 of rabies. She reportedly contracted rabies after being bitten by a stray dog on the bungalow premises of Saroj Raj.