Bengal Tigers also Known as the Royal Bengal Tigers are one of the most deadliest big cats in the world. They are the subspecies of tiger family and called Panthera Tigris Tigris scientifically. These tigers are found in Indian subcontinents, and the only tiger species that inhabits in mangrove forests of Sundarbans (India and Bangladesh), Nepal, Bhutan. The White Bengal Tigers are uncommon as their body coats are white because of Gene mutation.
The oldest fossil of a Tiger found in Sri Lanka estimated to be 16,500 years old. The glorious walk with those brilliant black striped golden fur undoubtedly make them such magnificent animals.
But, this mighty predator is an endangered species because of poaching and illegal hunting.
Physical characteristics :
On average, adult male tigers grow 270-310 centimeters in length and females grow between 240-270 centimeters including the tail.
Males weigh around 180-260kgs whereas, females are typically 100-170kgs heavy. The average height of Bengal tigers are between 90-110 centimeters at shoulder.
These tigers have the longest canines among all big cats, lengthening up-to 7.5-10 centimeters long. Also In between all carnivores, they have the heaviest brain after polar bear.
The body of Bengal tigers are covered by bright yellow or golden fur with glorious black stripes and white under belly. Each and every tiger have different stripe patterns like human fingerprints.
These brilliant coloration provide them excellent camouflage, and the thick fur provide warmth to protect themselves in cold.
They are one of the fastest wild cats in the world with a top speed of 65kms per hour. Most noticing, the average speed they can run generally is near about their top speed. Bengal tigers are the only wild cat that are able to swim long distances because of their adaptation and habitat.
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The Bengal Tigers live up-to 18-25 years in the wild.
They mostly found in India, but also can be seen in Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar. They live in tropical Forests, swamps and grasslands (Including conservation forests). The tigers of Sundarbans (India and Bangladesh) are the only that live in mangroves.
Bengal Tigers are one of the mighty hunters. They travel miles after miles for prey and use their body coat as camouflage in hunting. Most of the time they ambush but, sometimes they chase to get their prey. They are solitary in nature. Females travel with their cubs. And males are likely to live alone.
As other big cats, they are also carnivores, they only love meat and eat 18-20 kgs in one sitting. Preferable preys are generally big mammals like Deer, Chital, Buffalo, Nilgai, Sambar, Gaur etc. But, they also hunt Wild Pig, Hares, Peafowls, Indian Jackals, Indian Leopards even Crocodiles. They are not like to eat human but sometimes they eat humans while breaching their habitat.
Reproduction or Mating :
They are very much caring for their females and cubs. Not having any particular season for mating, but they mate and give birth gave birth in March-April or November-December in every 3-4 years. Male tigers get ready to mate when they are 4-5 years old and females at the age of 3-4 years. Females gestation period last up to 111 days and gave birth of 6-7 cubs at a time. Cubs weigh near around 2-4kgs at birth time, and cubs also have milk teeth like humans, which get replaced after 2.5 years.
The main threat of decreasing Bengal Tiger population is poaching. Illegal gangs poach tigers for the skins and body parts in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and China. China is the biggest skin smuggler and also uses the bones in traditional not certified medicines.
Wildlife protection society of India documented above 900 tigers were killed in India in between 1994 to 2009.
Sometimes they got killed by villagers, while came into localities and villages.
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1973, Indian government started “Project Tiger”.
1975, Trading Tiger parts were banned in international market. In this year Tigers were listed as endangered.
1987, Global Tiger Reserve plan started.
1993, China banned trading of tiger parts.
2001, Government started estimating Tigers.
2008, Indian government launched Anti-poaching force.
2018, their population had increased to 2603 to 3346.
The conservation effort by Indian government and Wildlife protection society (India and world wide) actually helped to increase tiger population in current years. The main moto is to protect their habitat and rehabilitation by making Tiger sanctuaries.
Except that, Tigers also captivated in sanctuaries and Zoos. Alipore Zoo in Kolkata bred Tigers in captivity for the first time.
Interesting facts :
1. Night vision and hearing of Bengal tigers are 6 times more than human. They can hear more than 2 miles away.
2. They have strong memories and well capable in remembering faces.
3. These tigers are good climbers.
4. They usually roar to call other tigers.
5. The Bengal Tigers saliva has antiseptic. When they get injured they lick themselves to heal the wounds.