Life of Pi: Was Richard Parker fact or fiction?

Well, hold your horses people, or in this case tigers and lions too, or probably the entire Pondicherry Zoo, for the title here is clearly deceptive. Not every movie, or book for that matter can imagine a royal Bengal tiger in the middle of the Pacific, but Life of Pi clearly breaks all barriers. But how real was Richard Parker? For the audience, yes, it was all graphical genius, but what about the people who were actually there and done that? On screen Pi, aka Suraj Sharma clears some air.