is the largest living member of the cat family. It has an excellent
eye-sight and good hearing with well developed ear flaps. They have large
canine teeth and strong, powerful jaws. Its paws are heavily padded and
coloration is bright fawn to reddish tan, shading to white underneath and
sharply marked with uneven gray, brown black stripes generally in a vertical
direction. The fur on the belly is white with black stripes. White Bengal
tigers (with white fur and black stripes) are very rare in the wild.
These powerful and swift mammals found throughout India from the foothills
of Himalayas at Corbett National Park to Bandipur in the peninsular India;
from the swamps of the Sunderbans to the desert land at Ranthambore. In
tropical jungles, marsh lands and tall grasslands in fragmented areas of
Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Bhuton and Burma.
The length of the tigers can measure up to 10 feet and has a weight ranging
from 180 to 260 kgs for males and around 135 kg for females.
The Indian tiger is a carnivorous creature of hypnotic power and strength.
Varying according to the locality, the tiger's diet comprises of deers,
antelopes, gaurs, buffaloes and wild pigs. Sometimes, it also captures
birds, lizards, fowls, carrions, turtles, fishes, frogs and crabs. Tigers
hunt on their own and usually lead a solitary existence, each in its own
territory. Tigers are heavier predators than lions, and average about 50
deer each, per year. Man-eating and cattle-killing are usually attributed to
older tigers, injured tigers, or young adults unable to leave an
Bengal Tiger is an exclusive dominating beast that prefers isolation. The
life span of a Bengal Tiger on an average is probably not more than 15 years
in the wild and 16 to 18 years in controlled environments. Both sexes mark
territories but a male's territory will overlap several females'
territories. Tigers are polyestrous but most commonly conceive after the
monsoon rains. Cubs are weaned at 4-6 months but depend on their mother for
food and protection for another two years. Their maximun longevity is about
Ecology and Conservation
At the beginning of the 20th century, the country had over forty thousand
tigers that has been on a decline ever since. The reasons for tiger becoming
an endangered species are uncontrolled felling of trees resulting in the
shrinkage of the habitat of the tiger, decrease of preys, increase of
poaching for its beautiful skin. The extinction forced the government of
India to launch the "Project Tiger" to get hold of the dwindling
count of the Indian tigers, in 1973. Initially, 9 wildlife sanctuaries were
declared as tiger reserves that has now increased to 19 covering an area of
33,000 sq. kms in 14 states. The beauty of the royal bengal cat can now be
seen in its natural surroundings in these conserved areas.
They have been listed by USFWS as endangered and protected by CITES