Bengal Tiger – Tiger Facts file:
Bengal Tigers are apex predators found throughout India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. There are about 2967 Bengal Tigers in India and over 3000 Bengal Tigers worldwide. The Bengal tigers account for more than half of the world Tiger population. Height-wise, the Bengal Tigers are 90-110cm and body length-wise, their range is 189cm-204cm.
Their tail is 100cm-107cm in length. On average, the weight of the Bengal Tigers ranges from 116kg-164kgs for females and 200-261kg for males. Colour-wise, the Bengal Tigers depict a yellowish-orange colour and they have brown or black stripes, while their tail is white. There are White Bengal Tigers found throughout Assam, Bengal and Bihar.
Diet, Habitats, and Behaviours of the Bengal Tiger:
Diet: Bengal Tigers are carnivores. The chief part of their diet comprises of chital, a wide range of deer species, gaur, and sambar. They also eat other ungulates, water buffalo, grey langur, hares, peafowl, wild boar, peafowls, and sloth bear cubs. Bengal tigers eat humans if there is a lack of food.
Habitat: Their habitat includes, tropical and subtropical lush green forests, dry and deciduous forests, mangroves and grasslands.
Behaviour: They are solitary hunters and, they interact with other Tigers for mating or if another Bengal Tiger enters their territory. The latter often leads to fights between Bengal Tigers. They operate within a minimal area of territory. Bengal Tigers need an environment to have an abundance of food and tranquillity. They only attack humans if there is a conflict or if they feel threatened by their presence.
Bengal Tiger litters comprise 4-6 cubs and the gestation period lasts for 3-4 months. Female Bengal Tigers look after their cubs for about 18 months and in this period, the cubs learn how to hunt. Once the period ends, the cubs establish their own territory and go their separate ways from their mother.
Threats and Conservation Efforts:
Despite their increasing population in India, the Bengal Tigers are still facing many threats to their existence. These threats include hunting, poaching, habitat loss and fragmentation, deforestation and limited prey. Regarding the poaching activities, poachers hunt the Bengal Tigers to fulfil the demand for traditional Chinese medicine.
Conservation efforts: Their population has increased in India by 33% in 5 years because of legislation and conservation efforts. In 2014, there were 2226 Bengal Tigers and in 2019, there were about 2967 Bengal Tigers in India. Current, Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, praised it as a ‘historic achievement’ for India.
The conservation efforts include continued measures being implemented by two influential conservation organizations. They are the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The latter organisation helps in combatting Tiger-based trade.
Nepal, has adopted the Tiger Project and the Bengal Tiger Conservation Programme to improve the Bengal Tiger Population in Nepal. They started the latter in Suklaphanta, Nepal, that help local communities use products that do not come from the Bengal Tiger’s natural habitat.
In India, the late prime minister, Indira Gandhi started Project Tiger. Her party launched the Tiger conservation initiative in 1973. The Project saw the successful launch of 25 Tiger Reserves throughout the nation. Over the years, Indian governments built these Reserves on reclaimed land. Project Tiger comprises of strict laws that prohibit human development and inhibition.
The Tiger Protection Force in India aims at preventing the hunting of Bengal Tigers. India Tiger initiative aims at protecting the Bengal Tiger population in India. India Tiger helps tourism in India by educating tourists about the unique aspects surrounding the Bengal Tiger.
Bengal Tiger – Tiger Facts