Prince, the most photographed and dominant tiger of Karnataka's Bandipur Tiger Reserve, has died of natural causes, a forest official said on Wednesday.
With Prince's death, the number of tigers dead in just three months of 2017 is believed to have reached 30 – 22 natural deaths and eight poached – according to the individual data collected by Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI).
In 2015, 82 confirmed natural deaths of tigers were recorded.
The carcass of the legendary Prince was found in the national park of Bandipur on Sunday evening. The 13-year-old male was missing for the past few weeks.
T Heerala, Director of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve It took three days to confirm the dead tiger was Prince... we matched the stripes on the carcass to those of Prince from our database and these were over 90 percent matched.
Explaining how the natural process takes it course, Heeralal said the area occupied by Prince had already been claimed by another male tiger.
"The tiger had marked its territory over an area of about ten to twelve sq km... it was a dominant male," the director said.
According to Heeralal, despite having defended and held his territory for over seven years, Prince was not an aggressive tiger.
"It was very tourist-friendly... we have not named the tiger which has taken over Prince's territory," added the director.
The carcass was burnt in the forest area as per the norms.