Yoga Guru BKS Iyengar’s favourite tiger Brahma dies

Yoga Guru BKS Iyengar’s favourite tiger Brahma dies

July 25, 2020

Iyengar had adopted the feline, captured in Brahmagiri Forests, for lifetime at Mysuru Zoo

Mysore/Mysuru: A tiger which was adopted by Yoga Guru Belur Krishnamachar Sundararaja (BKS) Iyengar for lifetime died at the Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens (Mysuru Zoo) last evening. 

The tiger named ‘Brahma’ was housed in the Zoo for the past 12 years. According to Zoo authorities, it was around 20 years old. Mysuru Zoo Executive Director Ajit Kulkarni said the tiger was involved in man-animal conflict and was rescued by the Forest Department on March 18, 2008 from Theralu village in Virajpet taluk in Kodagu District. 

It was handed over to the Mysuru Zoo Rescue Centre. It was later adopted by Iyengar for lifetime. “Brahma passed away at 3 pm on Friday due to old age-related issues. At present the Zoo has 10 male and six female tigers under its care,” said Kulkarni.

The tiger was a special attraction in the Zoo and as it was caught in Brahmagiri Range of Reserve Forest in Kodagu, it was named Brahma. In 2009, BKS Iyengar and a group of Yoga enthusiasts had visited the Zoo where the Zoo officials narrated the story of Brahma and his capture from the wild. 

Impressed by the then Brahma who was in his prime, BKS Iyengar paid Rs. 20 lakh and adopted the feline for lifetime. After this, Brahma was known as “adopted son of BKS Iyengar” and had got a special place in the Zoo. 

Unwell since the last two years 

After adoption, Iyengar used to see Brahma often and made it a point to visit him whenever the Yoga Guru was in Mysuru. He used to click photos of the tiger too. Due to age-related ailments, Brahma was unwell since the last two years and was shifted from the Zoo to the Chamundi Animal Conservation, Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre at Koorgalli on the outskirts of the city. 

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While the Zoo officials estimate Brahma’s age to be 20 years, wildlife activists estimate the age to be 23 years. In the wild, tigers live up to 10 to 12 years and die of territorial fights and sometimes hunger as they lose capacity to hunt. In the Zoo, felines live longer as there is a steady and disciplined supply of food, water and treatment facilities and can live up to 15 to 18 years. 

A candidate of the wild

In Indian Zoos, there are a couple of tigers who have lived beyond 20 years and Brahma was one among them. Despite being captured from the wild, Brahma used to listen to the commands of the Zoo cage keepers and behaved gently most of the times. 

The news of Brahma’s death and that it was adopted by BKS Iyengar has gone viral in social media. However, many netizens said Brahma was not a display piece in a Zoo. “Whosever favourite it is, this guy when caught was young and genetically superior and was not meant to be kept in a Zoo. He should have been reintroduced into the forests and let him to spread his genes,” wrote one user. 


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