Whenever the name Tiger is said, we always imagine a giant cat with a mix of orange and black stripes on a body and large fangs and razor-sharp nails in its paws.
Drive into an image, where you are in a forest with your family to see animals in their natural habitat. Suddenly, you are lost and after you move to search for your family members, a tiger approaches you but, you are not aware of it. When it growls in the silent forest, you will be frightened to the core and will try to escape from that place at any cost, right? But tigers are not the species that always seek humans for foodstuff. It will make humans its prey only when it doesn’t mollify its requirement. Unlike lions, the tiger catches its prey only at night, hence they are nocturnal animals.
Tiger is a ferocious and enormous but cute cat (if we don’t disturb). Known as ‘Panthera Tigris’ scientifically, in which the word ‘Panthera’ is derived from the Classical Latin word of the same name and the phonetically similar Sanskrit word पाण्डर (pāṇḍ-ara) means pale yellow. This roaring cat has many subspecies such as
• Royal Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris)- Endangered
• Caspian Tiger (Panthera tigris virgata)- Extinct from the 1970s
• Siberian Tiger (Panthera tigris altaica)- Endangered
• South China Tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis)- Critically Endangered
• Indochinese Tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti)- Endangered
The Javan Tiger, Bali Tiger and the Sumatran tiger, all belonging to the same group (Panthera tigris sondaica), became extinct at the time of the mid- 20th century due to cruel and money-minded busy beings. Tigers were poached for their skin and canines. The tigers were once mainly found in the areas of Eastern Anatolia in the west to the Amur River in the east, and in Southern Asia such as the foothills of the Great Himalayas, to the Bali in Sunda islands.
These black and sallow animals possess the ability to blend with the surrounding to fulfil its work as a predator. It is always very difficult to find a tiger under camouflage. Tigers have partial marine life to escape the scorching heat. The cubs are usually found in forest lakes just like the human beings in the swimming pool! Tigers are mainly found in Mangrove forests which are swampy.
The Royal Bengal Tigers are largely found in Sunderbans of India, which is the largest marshy forest in the world. The average lifespan of the tigers is between 8 to 10 years. The longest living tiger’s age was 26 years. Tigers play a crucial role in cleaning the environment. By feeding on herbivores, these wild cats help to keep a pace between the animals which it feeds on and the forest flora which the herbivores feed upon.
Nowadays, tigers are reducing in numbers due to poaching for their valuable products such as skin and teeth. Some people do not understand the tiger’s participation in keeping our life on Earth to continue. Without the tigers, plant-eating animals increase and plant food will be a demand. Understanding these facts, many countries and organisations have been vociferous, made all their efforts to increase their race. People were made aware of the circumstance that prevailed. Out of all the organisations that worked for uplifting the population of these subsiding species, it was CITES- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife Flora and Fauna- took more responsibilities. India enforced a project called “Project Tiger” in 1973. Consequently, India announced the Royal Bengal Tiger as its national animal.
India is placed on Guinness World Records for the largest camera-trap wildlife survey in 26833 locations, surveying an area of 121,337 sq.km and capturing 76651 photos of tigers in 2018-19.
While these orange tigers are on a side, the white tigers, also called ‘bleached tigers’ are the pigment variants of the Royal Bengal and Siberian tigers and hybrid of these two. Though just around 3,900 orange tigers are remaining in the wild, according to Indian Wildlife Safari, only 400 white tigers are left.
Global Tiger Day or International tiger day is celebrated annually on the 29th of July to advance the consciousness about the tigers. It was created at St. Petersburg city of Russia. While many people are aware of the prevailing condition, many actors came forward to adopt tigers and raise them. Save Tigers Now is the global wide campaign run by the World Wildlife Fund and Hollywood star actor Leonardo DiCaprio to create political and financial support to make the number of tigers twice by the next year i.e., 2022.
The conservation charity ‘Save China’s Tiger’ states that the tiger has more height, weight, hunting ability, the speed at which it runs, strength than the lion. Therefore, scientists state that Tigers are the King of the Jungle. Do you agree? Though scary, they look cute at certain times, don’t they?
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>>> This is an article published on the occasion of the Global Tiger Day, observed annually on July 29.