ROYAL BENGAL TIGER
Royal Bengal Tiger is the pride and national animal of India. The majestic animal is well protected in India and is one of the major tourist attractions of the country. The genetic research confirms that this species of tiger arrived in India about 12,000 years ago and since has been flourishing in the Indian subcontinent with pride and glory. Royal Bengal Tiger has an average weight of about 325 kg with massive built, covered in an illustrious yellow coat with stripes of dark or brown. They prowl across the forest in gait and pride which leaves tourists who have the opportunity to spot them in wildlife tours awe struck. With years of progress in conservation of tigers, in 2014 the number of Royal Bengal Tigers has increased to about 2226 individuals and is still growing. They are protected in major national parks of India like Bandhavgarh, Sunderbans, Ranthambore etc., White tigers are the recessive dominants of Royal Bengal Tiger and are spotted in various parts of India like Assam. In the legends of India, the interrelationship of tiger and human beings has been recorded from centuries in a fascinating way. Also, as tiger is an important member of food chain, their conservation is very crucial.
ROYAL BENGAL TIGER FACTS
Physical Features: The massive body of the Royal Bengal Tiger is carved in a slim and an elegant manner. They are very powerful and agile and grow up to weigh as much as 325 kgs. The male can measure up to 89 to 104 cm with a tail length of about 100 cm. The female can measure up to 161 cm with a tail length of about 87 cm. They have sharp retractable claws. The four paws of the tiger are well padded that allow them to walk with bounce and elegance. They have very strong forelimbs that allow them to run after prey very well. They have very sharp eyesight and are sensitive to colors. They have a very good night vision and their eyes glow at night. They also have a very prominent sense of smell and generally, they leave scent marks to mark their territory. Royal Bengal tigers are very good in swimming. Young and agile tigers can also climb trees while the older ones are too heavy for it.
Habitat in India: In India, Royal Bengal Tiger mostly resides in the evergreen forests, dry deciduous forest, moist deciduous forest, alluvial grasslands, and mangrove forests. Earlier, tigers were found in plenty across the banks of the Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers. Now, because of the agricultural growth, tiger population has become dense in the deciduous forests of Central and South India. The government has set up ‘’Tiger Conservation Units’’ in the foothills of the Himalayas where tiger population is high due to extensive number of preys in this area. The area includes Corbett National Park, Hazaribagh National Park, Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary, Ratapani Tiger Reserve etc., The Royal Bengal Tigers found in Sunderbans constitute the only tiger population that reside in the mangrove forests.
Reproduction: In India, Royal Bengal Tigers do not have any specific mating season. The cubs have been reportedly found in the months of December, April, March, May, October and November. The male cub gets matured in 4 to 5 years and the female gets matured in 3 to 4 years.
Conservation Acts: Due to illegal poaching activities in India, Nepal and China the number of tiger has been decreasing at an alarming rate and in 2010, in India tiger was declared as an endangered animal by IUCN. The initiative to protect tiger had been raised in India as early as 1900s. In 1973, Project Tiger was introduced by the Indian Government for the first time in order to protect the dwindling population of tiger. Funds were gathered in order to protect the tiger population and in rehabilitation of their population in other places of India. In 2003 8 more tiger reserves were established in India when it was found that the number of tigers in wild was only 1,411. In 2008, a special anti-poaching force was organized in the police force of the country in order ti stop illegal poaching all across the country. These officials have done good job in eliminating poaching from Ranthambore National Park. Till today, there are a total of about 49 tiger reserves in India. With the combined efforts of everybody, the population of tiger has successfully increased from 1,706 in 2011 to 2,226 in 2014. Belinda Wright, a prominent wildlife photographer and wildlife conservationist in India, who had been working on tiger conservation efforts in India for the past 40 years says that “India still has a long way to go, and must do a better job at preventing poaching”. She confirmed that the government has spent around $400 million on conservation efforts on tigers in India. Tribal villages that were located in the buffer zones of various reserves are being moved out so tigers can criss-cross through these extended corridors. It is expected that tiger population in some of the preserves should should grow by another 1500 in the next two decades.