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October 7, 2013 – Rest in Peace, Raja
It is with great sadness that we have to tell you that our beloved patriarch Bengal tiger, Raja, lost his brave battle with kidney disease on Monday, October 7th. After many months of receiving treatment, Raja took a turn for the worse, and we had no choice but to humanely end his pain. Bobbi was at his side the entire time.
Raja suffered from chronic renal failure, one of the leading causes of death in elderly felines. Unfortunately, for this type of illness, elevated creatinine and BUN levels only appear in lab work after significant damage has already been done.
Raja received multiple courses of treatment, including pumping fluids into his system to help flush his kidneys as well as a regimen of medications to improve appetite and remove toxins from his body. During Raja’s final months we did everything in our power to treat his kidney disease and ensure that he was as comfortable and happy as possible.
Raja and Natasha were the very first rescues at LTB, and the founding inspiration behind our ongoing efforts to make the world a better place for some of nature’s most beautiful animals. Raja’s spirit will continue to live on as we uphold our promise to provide a safe haven for the unwanted and abused. Rest in peace Raja, you will forever be in our hearts.
Eulogy for Raja,
written and delivered on 10/12/13 by Shauna, an LTB volunteer.
“The misery of our world often has a way of beginning a new consciousness, a new awareness, a new kindness and a new way of life where instead of hurt there are good things created, things like a forever home and ways of expressing love where once there was only pain.
“Raja knew that hurt and pain, but he also knew for most of his long, wonderful life that there were special people– like Bobbi, you and all of us at Lions Tigers and Bears. He didn’t know it at the time, when he hurt so much, but Raja was the one who helped lead us here, showing us that the love we felt for him was the truest thing that people and animals can experience together.
“So many times Raja would express a kinship with us. He couldn’t talk; he couldn’t purr. But he could walk up to you, look at you, right in your eyes and chuff, that beautiful deep throated personal greeting that the great tigers reserve for their own. And Raja considered us to be his own, as much as we embraced him as ours.
“I’ll never forget when Tiger Trails opened and he went out to where there was open ground, green grass under his feet, falling water, and skies overhead– blue skies with white clouds that he had never seen before, except through a chain link. His response was the reason we all dedicate our lives to making good things happen here at LTB. Raja jumped in the pool, splashed happily and enjoyed a new part of his life that he had never, ever imagined before. And, at last, he felt a sense of peace and happiness.
“And when he roared he told us all that he was Raja, the great patriarch – and that this was his declared home, and it will stay his home and a part of our lives forever.
“All of us who walk here at LTB — me, Bobbi, Barb, Julie, our dedicated staff and volunteers and, of course, our wonderful members, will never forget him. I can tell all of you, there will never be a moment when Raja won’t be with us here at LTB. Raja is the Father of LTB. And a father never leaves; he’s forever with his family. Look around you. Listen. Raja’s here, right now with us.
“And when the skies move with the clouds, and the grass blows with the wind, and the water falls gently in the pond, pay attention– Raja’s sacred spirit is here. How do you know? Close your eyes and listen… you can hear him chuff….”
Bengal Tiger – Born: 9/5/1996 – Weight: 550 lbs
Died October 7, 2013
Raja and Natasha came to us from Texas in September 2002. Their previous owner had kept both of these full-grown Bengal Tigers in a 6′ x 12′ cage with no shade or shelter. They had spent their entire lives in that small enclosure stepping over each other just to turn around.
Raja’s owner was unwilling to give the cats up to the authorities nor was he willing to provide adequate protection for these beautiful cats. After much coaxing, he was finally persuaded to give Raja and Natasha to Lions Tigers & Bears. The authorities gave LTB one month to get the cats moved. In less than one month, we were able to raise 2/3 of the money necessary to build a suitable enclosure, construct a new home for Raja and Natasha, obtain all the necessary permits, and transport both cats from Texas to southern California. Raja was neutered on 3/28/03, so that he could continue living with Natasha.
Raja quickly settled into his new surroundings at LTB and made himself right at home with Natasha by his side. Raja was affectionate, sociable and loved being the center of attention. He enjoyed playing in the cool grass with Natasha and his daughters, Sitarra and Tabu. He also enjoyed batting his ball around and splashing and lounging in the waterfall of the Tiger Trails pool.