Khairi the unique story of a royal bengal tigress who was raised by her human foster parents in Odisha.In the early 1980s, Odias loved to speak about this beloved tigress daughter of a Forest Officer of Similipal, Odisha. During the mid 1970s, Shri Saroj Raj Choudhury, the director & conservator of forests in Similipal, took charge of a frail & weak 7-week old tiger cub which was brought to him by some local 'Kharia’ tribals. She was named KHAIRI as she was found near the ‘Khairi’ river.

She was brought up by the Choudhurys in their official bungalow in Jashipur with every care & indulgence as one can imagine showered on one’s own child! Khairi used to be hand-fed by Mrs Chaudhury; she loved to eat Amul(milk powder) coated mutton. She loved to sleep in the same room as her foster family. She was very playful & friendly around her family. She grew up in the company of other rescues who lived in the Choudhurys’ house compound- a bitch, a blind hyena, a mongoose, a crocodile. She was completely at-home with her human parents, their friends and other visitors. When she was older, her parents used to leave her in the jungle so that she could find a mate; but she would just come back home at dawn. Khairi died in 1981 from Rabies after a stray dog bit her. Mr.Choudhury never could recover from this loss & passed away in a year. There are 2 books about her: ‘Khairi - The Beloved Tigress’ by Shri Saroj Raj Choudhury and ‘Bagharani Khairi’ by an eminent Odia writer of the time Shri Akhila Pattnaik.

Shri Saroj Raj Choudhury is remembered as a pioneer in the field of tiger conservation & research in India; his ‘Pugmark technique’ has been very useful for subsequent tiger research projects. Apart from his legacies in Tiger research & as an exemplary forest officer, he is also remembered for his conduct, duty, honesty, field work etc.. He was awarded posthumously with the ‘Padma Shri' award by the Govt. of India.

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