Tiger at Bandhavgarh National Park, India

Tiger at Bandhavgarh National Park, India

This majestic tiger named Pujari is from the Khitauli Zone of the Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh, India. We filmed it as it was frantically trying to find some rest besides a pool but the flies would give it no peace. Finally, it moved into the pond where flies would not trouble it.

Tigers exist in the wild in India, Nepal, China, Russia, Bhutan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.

India’s tiger population has risen at 6.1% between 2006 to 2022. The estimated tiger population in India was 1411 in 2006 but has grown to 3682 as per the National Tiger Conservation Authority Report of 2023. Amongst the assessed tiger reserves, the Corbett Tiger Reserve emerged with the largest population of 319 tigers. The highest number of 757 tigers has been reported in an 8103 sq. km contiguous area covering the Dehradun-Rajaji-Corbett-Ramnagar-Pilibhit and Dudhwa areas in Uttrakhand and Uttar Pradesh.

Currently only two subspecies of tigers are recognized and accepted by the IUCN. Panthera tigris tigris and Panthera tigris sondaica. The India population is represented by Panthera tigris tigris.

The Indian Tiger has an orange coat with broad black stripes extending to the under belly. It has black ears with a white spot at the back, powerful forepaws and a long-banded tail. The total length measured from the tip of the nose to the end of its tail can be anywhere between 2.6 to 3 meters and the weight may range from 135-280 kgs. The average life span in the wild is 14 to 16 years. The tiger is an opportunistic feeder and may prey on large wild ungulates, nilgai (blue bull), gaur bison, elephant calves and wild buffalo. Although not good tree climbers, they are good swimmers.

Tigers in India are found in 19 states. Tiger habitats in India are managed by declaring forests as Tiger Reserves, National Parks and Wild Life Sanctuaries. There are 51 Tiger Reserves in India.

The tiger, being a top predator, is at the apex of the food chain. It plays an important role in the health and diversity of an ecosystem and its presence in the forest is indicative of the well being of the ecosystem. Tigers are an endangered species in the IUCN red list. A WWF survey has indicated a loss of 98% of the historic range of tigers. In the last 10 years the tiger habitat has decreased by 45%. Today tigers occupy just 7% of their historic range.

India, Bhutan and Nepal have shown a rise in population but the population is not so good in some South East Asian Countries. Loss of habitat to agriculture, urbanization, mining etc. is one important reason for the decline in tiger populations. Historically hunting tigers as a sport, poaching for body parts, bones and skin, more importantly in China and Tibet, is a major threat to the Indian Tiger. The Indian tiger is an endangered animal and is listed in Schedule 1 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 and hunting/poaching and trading in skins and body parts is an offence punishable with 3 to 7 years of imprisonment and with a fine extending from Rs. 50000 to Rs. 2 Lakhs. International trade in tiger parts is illegal under CITES.

©Srimaa Communication

Acknowledgements-Dr. Yashpal Singh, Mrs. Neena Singh, Manoj Kumar Yadav

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