India’s National Animal and probably the most recognizable Animal from India, apart from the Indian Elephant, is the The Royal Bengal Tiger more commonly known the Indian tigers. Over many centuries they have become an important part of Indian tradition and lore.
Even though Bengal Tigers are at the top of their ecosystem they are now an endangered species with a recorded tiger population of only 1,411 in 2008 as compared to 3,500 in the 1990’s with this figure drastically dropping each year. The primary reason attributed to this increasing drop in numbers is poaching for tiger skins and bones resulting in a total or almost wipe out of tigers in many Indian Wildlife Tiger Reserves.
India has to decide whether it wants to keep the tiger or not. It has to decide if it is worthwhile to keep its National Symbol, its icon, representing wildlife. It has to decide if it wants to keep its natural heritage for future generations, a heritage more important than the cultural one, whether we speak of its temples, the Taj Mahal, or others, because once destroyed it cannot be replaced. If the answer is yes, we must contribute in whatever way we can and stop the Bengal Tiger from becoming extinct.
About the Royal Bengal Tiger
The Bengal Tiger is the most common tiger subspecies, living in a variety of habitats primarily found in India, Bangladesh and also Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and southern Tibet.
Bengal Tigers are at the top of their ecosystem and play an active role in maintaining the delicate balance of India’s threatened natural fauna and flora. They prey upon a variety of animals including wild boar, sambar, barasingha, nilgai, gaur and water buffalo though the spotted dear, also known as chital, forms the bulk of their diet. At times smaller animals including hares, peacocks, langurs and monkeys are also consumed. Extremely strong, Bengal Tigers are known to attack and kill the largest prey animals in India including the Asiatic Elephant and Rhinoceros. They are estimated to have the strength of twelve adult men and can carry a fully grown cow over a ten foot fence.
The most untamed of India’s tigers reside in the largest natural delta on earth – the Sunderban forest of Bengal where the sacred river Ganges opens into the Bay of Bengal. An estimated near three hundred and five hundred tigers reside on India and Bangladesh’s side of this vast mangrove wetland.
Despite their fearsome reputation, most tigers avoid humans; however, a few do become dangerous maneaters. These animals are often sick and unable to hunt normally, or live in an area where their traditional prey has vanished.
Fast Facts About The Indian Tiger
Average lifespan in the wild: 8 to 10 years
Size: Head and body, 5 to 6 ft (1.5 to 1.8 m); Tail, 2 to 3 ft (0.6 to 0.9 m)
Weight: 240 to 500 lbs (109 to 227 kg)
Did you know? A tiger’s roar can be heard as far as two miles (three kilometers) away.
Did you know? They sport white spots on the backside of each ear which help baby tigers to see their mothers. Without the spots, which are very visible against a black background, the stripes of a mother tiger would make them almost invisible to the blurry-eyed cubs who trail behind them.
Did you know? The territorial male tiger usually travels alone, marking his boundaries with urine, droppings, and scratch marks to warn off trespassers.
Did you know? A tiger can consume as much as 40 kg (88 lb.) of meat in one feeding.
Saving the Bengal Tiger
Project Tiger is a wildlife conservation project initiated in India in 1972 to protect the Bengal Tigers. It has become one of the most successful wildlife conservation ventures. The project aims at tiger conservation in specially constituted tiger reserves representative of various bio geographical regions throughout India. It strives to maintain a viable tiger population in their natural environment.
Like project tiger there a number of Tiger conservation programs by various bodies around the world like the WWF (World Wildlife Fund or World Wide Fund For Nature). You won’t have to look hard to find one. Just read up on the organizations before to make sure your money or efforts are going to be used correctly.
How You Can Help the Fight to Keep the Tiger Alive
– By Joining online conservation communities
– By Spreading the word the best you can.
– By shopping for merchandise and gifts from stores that contribute to conservation funds.
– By Changing things at home by being be more Earth-friendly in your own life.
– By Donating to well known tiger conservation programs that fight to conserve the endangered species, protect threatened habitats and address threats.
– Never buy products made using the bone any parts of any endangered species because WHEN THE BUYING STOPS THE KILLINGS WILL.