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Ananya Padhihary

Nihar Nalini Swain, foster mother of legendary tigress Khairi passed away at the age of 88 in Ashirvad Old Age Home at Siddheswar Sahi in Cuttack on Wednesday. 

She died of natural causes, informed one of Swain’s relatives.

She breathed her last at the old-age Ashram (Home) where she spent her life following the death of her husband, Saroj Ray Choudhary, a former top forest officer of Odisha.

Love has the power to transcend unconceivable barriers and connect which indeed rings true in the case of Khairi and her foster mother Swain which will serve as an example for generations to come.

In 1972, Swain and her husband Saroj, who was then posted as the director of Similipal Tiger Reserve, rescued a female tiger cub from Khaira River bank in Balasore district and named her Khairi. The couple took the cub to their house in Jashipur and brought her up with all human care. Soon she became an inseparable part of their family.

Later, when the incident came to light, many stories were written and documentaries were made on this unique bond between human and the domesticated wild cat.

From feeding to playing with her, Nalini took care of Khairi as if she was her own daughter, until the latter died of certain disease in 1981.

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