Marwell Wildlife is deeply saddened to announce the death of male Amur tiger, Bagai.

Bagai was a big character at the zoo and will be missed by his keepers, vets, zoo staff and the thousands of guests who loved visiting him come rain or shine.

As an older cat, Bagai had been on medication for age related symptoms for a while. Sadly his symptoms worsened and had begun to impact on his quality of life.

Our team therefore made the incredibly difficult decision to euthanase him on Monday morning.

Carrie Arnold, Carnivore Team Leader, said: “Bagai had a huge personality that never failed to make you smile every day.

“He was lovable, goofy and cheeky. He was always playing “hide and seek” with his keepers, trying to hide behind rocks and plants, not realising he was bigger than all of them.

“Valentina and Bagai were a very close pair and could often be seen next to each other. They would spend time grooming, playing and sleeping together. We will be ensuing that Valentina is closely monitored in the coming weeks.

“Bagai had a huge personality and was loved by everyone that saw him. He will be missed by all who knew him, especially his keepers and the vet team.”

Bagai arrived at Marwell on 11 December 2013 after travelling from Germany’s Zoologisher Garten Wuppertal at 18-months-old.

He has played an important role in the conservation of his species, having previously fathered cubs at Marwell with former mate Milla.

Bagai became a father to three healthy cubs – Makari, Bailla and Zima – in 2016 and they’ve now gone on to have cubs of their own.

Following the death of Milla in 2020, Bagai struck up a playful relationship with Valentina who arrived at Marwell in December of the same year.

The pair have shared Marwell’s Amur tiger habitat ever since and are often seen exploring the space together.

Amur tigers are the largest of the big cat breeds. They are known for their distinctive black on orange markings, which are unique to each individual tiger.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list Amur tigers as Endangered with numbers declining in the wild.

Photographs by Paul Webber & Jason Brown