A much-loved tiger has died at Marwell Zoo after 12 years of life.

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

The animal's "huge personality" will be missed by his keepers, vets, zoo staff and the thousands of guests who loved visiting him come rain or shine.

READ MORE: Marwell Zoo confirms death of 19-year-old giraffe Makeda

Bagai roars (Image: Jason Brown)

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

The team at Marwell therefore made the decision to euthanise 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.

SEE MORE: Shawford Springs residents visit Marwell Wildlife Zoo

“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 in December 2013 after travelling from Germany’s Zoologisher Garten Wuppertal at 18-months-old.

Bagai in the woods (Image: Marwell Zoo)

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 have 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.