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 Rajah weighs about 350 pounds. 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 with 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 learning new commands.
How Rajah Came to the Sanctuary
Rajah and his sister Kaela were rescued from the side of a county road outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, when they were about 6 months of age, in 2005. An off-duty officer came upon them on weekend day and called 911. Animal control responded but at that time Rajah and Kaela was 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 if they are brother and sister. We guess that they are however due to their similar color and stripe pattern and that they were the same age when they were found.
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 it is less invasive to neuter the male than spay the female. Rajah loves to get treats and is currently working with a staff member to do operant conditioning. Operant conditioning is training in which the animal does simple tasks and positively reinforced with treats. This is to help enrich his mind and body as well as create structure and predictability into 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 does enjoy 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 around 500 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.
Rajah lives on Oak Hill. To one side his neighbor is his sister Kaela and on the other side are two of the 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 how easily 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 animals life, this isn't a good idea. Animals such as Rajah deserve to be respected as the wild animals they are.