Royal Bengal Tiger: The National Animal of India
Project Tiger was started in the year 1973 in view of the dwindling tiger population in India. Since the start of this program, the number of tigers in India started increasing.
In the year 2006, the total number of tigers in the country was 1411 which increased to 2967 in 2018. In the year 2018, the highest number of tigers found in Madhya Pradesh (526) while in Karnataka it is 524 and Uttarakhand is on the third place with a total of 442 tigers.
The Tiger (Panthera Tigris) is the national animal of India. It has a thick yellow coat of fur with dark stripes. Till 1972, Lion was the national animal of India. Later on it was replaced by the Tiger.
The combination of stamina, strength, agility and tremendous power has made the tiger as the national animal of India.
Some Tiger Reserves in India are-
Facts about Tiger:
i. Tiger is called the Lord of the Jungle and displays India’s wildlife wealth.
ii. It belongs to the species of Panthera Tigris.
iii. The Bengal Tiger was declared as the national animal of India in April 1973. Project Tiger was started in 1973 to save the tigers in India . Prior to this, the lion was the national animal of India.
iv. Since 2010, it has been classified as endangered by the IUCN.
v. There are eight sub-species of tigers such as Royal Bengal, Indo-Chinese, Sumatran, Amur or Siberian, South China, Caspian, Java, and Bali. The last three have been hunted to extinction.
vi. The white tiger is a recessive mutant of the Bengal tiger, which is reported in the wild from time to time in Assam, Bengal, Bihar and especially from the former Madhya Pradesh( Rewa).
vii. Male Bengal tigers have an average total length of 270 to 310 cm (110 to 120 in) including the tail, while females measure 240 to 265 cm (94 to 104 in) on average.
viii. The weight of males ranges from 180 to 258 kg (397 to 569 lb), while that of the females ranges from 100 to 160 kg (220 to 350 lb).
ix. Tigers have very strong legs like horses. It has been observed that a shot tiger can die standing even while bleeding to death.
x. It is observed that about half the tiger infants do not survive till adulthood. A newborn cub remains completely blind for the first week of its birth.
xi. Unlike lions, tigers do not fight over preys. Two male tigers have been seen sharing a prey. When several tigers are sharing a prey, it is observed that the male tigers wait for the females and infants to finish eating unlike any other predatory animal.
xii. An adult tiger can leap a distance of more than six metre and jump up to five metre vertically.
xiii. One blow of a tiger's front paw is strong enough to break a bear's skull and even break its spine. The condition of humans can be imagine easily now!
xiv. Each tiger has over 100 stripes on its body but no two tiger have the same stripe pattern.
xv. White tigers are not a different species. They are white in colour because some of the regular tigers are born with less pigmentary cells on their skin, making them look white.
xvi. Tigers, unlike other cat animals, like playing in water. They are excellent swimmers and fishers too. A tiger can swim for many kilometres and hunt for fish.
xvii. The Bengal tigers in the Sundarbans in India and Bangladesh are the only tigers in the world which are living in mangrove forests. The population of Bengal tigers is estimated to be around 70 tigers in Sundarbans.
Tigers of CAT Family Includes-
So the steps taken up by the government has increased the number of total tigers in the country significantly. I hope that in the coming years the biodiversity wealth of India will get richer.