Britain’s oldest tiger, star of Esso TV ads, dies aged 22

Tango in his most iconic role. Pic: SWNS
Tango in his most iconic role. Pic: SWNS

Britain’s oldest tiger, who featured in the iconic Esso fuel adverts, has passed away at the age of 22.

Tango was made famous when he was one of seven tigers who featured in Esso’s ‘put a tiger in your tank’ adverts in the 1990s.

Since 2014 he has been living at Woodside Wildlife Park in Lincolnshire where he passed away peacefully on Saturday.

A statement from the park posted on Facebook said: “It is with great sadness that we must announce the passing away of Tango the tiger.

“Tango was Britain’s oldest tiger at the age of 22 and has been at Woodside for a happy, peaceful two and a half year retirement following his rescue from a European circus.

“We would be really happy if you would share your pictures of Tango and celebrate his life.

“RIP Tango.”

After the adverts ended in the 1990s Tango was sold to a German circus which mistreated him.

He and his partner Julia, eight, were due to be put down in Belgium until the wildlife park raised £250,000 and brought them to the UK in 2014.

Since then he has enjoyed a peaceful existence as one of the park’s chief attractions.

Within a couple of hours of sharing the news on Facebook the wildlife park was inundated with messages of condolence from members of the public.

Katrina Robinson wrote: “That’s such sad news, we only saw him on Thursday, RIP Tango, he had a great few years at Woodside well done to you all for making his last years the best.”

Claire Bolton wrote: “RIP Tango. At least you spent the last part of your life being looked after well, and loved by all who saw you. Beautiful boy.”

Shelia Jack wrote: “Sad news. Thank you for looking after him.”

Tigers usually live to the age of 16 and the oldest known tiger lived to be 24.