The Tiger in India

The Tiger in India

The Tiger is recognized as one of the big 5 cats. The list is headed by the Lion which is closely followed by the Tiger. Generally male tigers are about 9 in length and could have an average weight of 400 lbs. The measurement of length is from the nose to the tail. Female tigers are slightly smaller in size and weight. Till about 100 years back the tiger was in abundance all over the world and thousands roamed the areas of Asia, India and Africa. However indiscriminate hunting and destruction of its natural habitat has reduced the tiger population to a pittance and has become an abundant species. In case this species is not looked after there is a good chance that the tiger will keep only in photographs.

India holds pride of place as far as tigers are concerned. The Cat Specialist Group has estimated that nearly two thirds of all the worlds tigers are concentrated in India. India has been home to the tiger for as long as Indian history. The Indus valley civilization which thrived nearly 4500 years back has clear reference to the Indian Tiger. A seal with a tigers head is proof enough that the tiger as a wild cat flourished at that time. already earlier about 5000 years back the rock paintings of the Warli tribes in Thane show the existence of the tiger.

The Indian Tiger also referred to as the Bengal Tiger has pride of place in the list of tigers. Panthera Tigris Tigris is the name given to the Indian tiger by zoologists. The Bengal tiger is also referred to as the Royal Bengal tiger because of its majestic turn up. The Bengal tiger is a carnivorous animal. But sometimes it can turn into a man eater. Tigers generally are not man eaters, but an injury or a provocation can rule a tiger to become a man eater. The tiger in India is a protected species, but the sad part is that as per the last tiger census conducted by the Indian Government ,only 3846 tigers were counted. But experts have questioned the method of conducting census of the tigers by the Indians which they feel is not scientific. Indian censuses of wild tigers are carried out by identification of footprints also referred to as pugmarks of individual tigers. For this identification an expert tiger tracker is a must. However experts feel this method is not accurate.

With the Tiger population dwindling the government and wild life enthusiasts launched Project Tiger to help the species from becoming extinct. But the set afloat of Operation Tiger for the conservation of the tiger is at the minimum 3 decades late. Prior to this the Maharajas carried out extensive shootings of the tiger to satisfy their ego. Big tiger shoots were organized to please the British rulers as India was a colony at that time. The Bengal tiger has been part of folklore in the tales written by Jim Corbett. He shot hundreds of tigers but regretted it in later life and became a tiger conservationist. The Corbett national park is named in his memory in Western Utter Pradesh.

One of the most famous reserves for the Tiger in India is the Smlipal save in the state of Orissa. Here the thick jungles give abundant cover to the tiger. The melanistic or black tiger is a scarce color variant of the tiger and is also supposed to be alive in this save albeit in very scanty number. The white tiger also a rarity is only found in India in Rewa in Madhya Pradesh. As things stand the tiger is an abundant species and it is incumbent on all wild life enthusiasts to help save the tiger and its habitat. This magnificent animal cannot be relegated to the dustbins of natural history.

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