Rajah has a laid-back attitude and is a favorite on the tour. He is about 9 feet tall when he stands up on his hind legs and weighed 336 pounds when most recently weighed in April 2018. He enjoys coming up to “talk” to the tour guests and “chuffle” at them. He loves to follow the group along the fence to see if they brought him any treats. Rajah is currently working with a staff member on operant conditioning, a form of positive reinforcement that allows staff members and the vet to get a good look at him physically without putting hands on him or having to sedate him. His favorite command to follow for a staff member is “paw.” When asked for his paw, he puts it up on the fence for staff members to look at it to ensure there are no sores or cuts. Rajah is a quick learner who enjoys mastering new commands.
How Rajah Came to the Sanctuary
Rajah and another tiger who we named, Kaela, were rescued from the side of a county road outside of Charlotte, North Carolina in 2005, when they were about 6 months of age. An off-duty officer came upon them on a weekend day and called 911. Animal control responded, but at that time, Rajah and Kaela were on opposite sides of the road, putting them in two different counties which meant two different animal controls had to respond and pick them up. The North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro held them in quarantine until their enclosure here at Carolina Tiger Rescue could be built for them. No one is sure how the cubs got there and no one has ever stepped forward to claim them.
Rajah has a laid-back personality and is much more inclined to sit back and relax. Rajah was neutered to prevent breeding between he and Kaela when they lived together and because it is less invasive to neuter the male than to spay the female. Rajah loves to get treats and is currently working with a staff member on operant conditioning. Operant conditioning is training in which the animal does simple tasks that are positively reinforced with treats. This is to help enrich his mind and body as well as create structure and predictability in his day. Operant conditioning is also used to give the vet a chance to do a visual exam without having to sedate the animal. Rajah enjoys chasing work trucks as they drive by but can also be found lounging on top of his den box soaking up the afternoon sun.
Rajah is one of our largest tigers and weighs in at 336 pounds. He has a long, large head that is quite impressive. Rajah’s fur is a diluted orange and his stripes are more of a dark brown than a stark black. He has two black stripes above his eyes on each side that look like quotation marks.
Where in Sanctuary
Rajah lives on tour on Oak Hill. On one side are his neighbors Carolina, India, and Caprichio Tiger and on the other side is the pride of lions, Roman and Reina.
North Carolina is one of four states were it is still legal to own a non-native species. In other words, it is legal in the state of North Carolina to own a lion, tiger, and other wild cats. Rajah is likely a direct result of this lack of legislation. Due to the ease with which animals such as Rajah can be acquired, people are obtaining them as pets and then realizing, sometimes at the expense of a human life or the animal's life, that this is not a good idea. Animals such as Rajah deserve to be respected as the wild animals they are.