The tiger (Panthera tigris) is the largest living cat species and a member of the genus Panthera. It is most recognizable for its dark vertical stripes on orange-brown fur with a lighter underside. It is an apex predator, primarily preying on ungulates such as deer and wild boar. It is territorial and generally a solitary but social predator, requiring large contiguous areas of habitat, which support its requirements for prey and rearing of its offspring. Tiger cubs stay with their mother for about two years, before they become independent and leave their mother’s home range to establish their territory. Let us have A brief study on Tiger Pattern.
The tiger has been hunted almost to extinction in the 20th century. It has disappeared from western Asia and some islands of South East Asia and is reduced in number in the world (IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group 2016).
Of all the big cats, the tiger is the most widespread. It has been estimated that there are around 3,200 tigers in their natural habitat across Asia; India has more than half of them (WWF 2013). The current range of wild tigers covers a mere 7% of its former extent from 105 years ago (WWF 2015). Tigers were once found throughout Eurasia from eastern Turkey to Siberia and Bali until as late as 1970 when they became extinct in 10 countries: Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, North Korea, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, and Vietnam. However, re-introduction projects have been successful in establishing new wild populations of tigers. By far the most populous country for tigers today is Indonesia (Sumatran tiger) followed by India and Bangladesh.
How did tigers and zebras get their stripes?
The zebra (Equus quagga) is an African equid, which by itself does not form a species, but has two subspecies: the plains zebra and Grévy’s zebra. They are easily recognized because of their striking white-and-black stripes reminiscent of other members of the horse family such as horses and donkeys. The ‘true’ zebras were named by Linnaeus in 1758.
The mane, tail, and beard of the male are black; on its flanks are narrow white stripes. It lives in large herds made up of many families with one dominant stallion who takes all the leadership roles within his harem. Each family consists of a dominant female and several smaller females with their foals. Young males, as they grow up, leave their herds and join bachelor herds of young adult males with no families of their own who do not participate in mating. Zebras are found mostly in the savannahs of Africa.
The zebra’s contrasting black-and-white striping makes it one of the most recognizable animals on Earth. Scientists have long wondered why zebras have these bold markings, but despite many hypotheses, there’s still no clear answer. A new study looks into what might explain this phenomenon by using mathematical models to study how zebras’ stripes may help them survive being hunted by lions.
There are nine living subspecies of tiger: three found in India, and six found in parts of eastern and south-eastern Asia: Bengal, Malayan or Amur, Siberian or Ussuri, Indochinese, South China, and Sumatran. Three distinct lineages of tigers exist with possibly five extinct subspecies such as Bali, Javan, and Caspian tigers (Canid Specialist Group 1996). Tigers require a lot of space to survive; they need a shifting area larger than 500km2 to supply enough prey animals while their prey needs a shifting area of 50-500km2 to escape from tigers (Rabinowitz 1988, pp. 19). Tigers are extremely elusive animals and it is hard to estimate their numbers.
Tigers face serious threats due to habitat loss, fragmentation, and poaching for fur or body parts. In Sumatra, the remoteness of some areas has limited the effects of logging but in Bali, Javan and Caspian tiger populations have been decimated by hunting and deforestation (Boyd et al., 2014). In India, many protected areas used to be hotspots for tigers but now camera trapping surveys show that expanding roads have been barriers between these protected areas (Mongabay 2015). These two causes have led to a low density of tigers in these protected areas.
Illegal Hunting of Tigers
People are still illegally hunting tigers for their fur, body parts, and bones which are used in traditional Chinese medicines (WCPA 2011). According to the World Wildlife Fund Tigers have lost 93% of their historic range due to habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation. Only recently has protected land increased by 31%. Several parks have been specifically established or improved for tigers including Langtang National Park in Nepal, Manas National Park in India, and Hukaung Valley Tiger Reserve in Myanmar.
The Bengal Tiger
The Bengal tiger is the most common subspecies with numbers estimated at 1,520-1,909 living in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia*, Myanmar*, Nepal* and Thailand* (IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group 2016). Current numbers are less than they were 100 years ago (WWF 2013). It has been heavily poached for its fur and body parts to be consumed in many forms of traditional medicine.
The History Of Tigers in Bali
(Mongabay 2015) – Bali was once home to around 600 tigers until 1916 when the island’s colonial rulers decided to introduce a large-scale “de-snaring” effort by shooting all tigers. The last official tiger hunting happened during the 1970s resulting in only 30 left in the Uluwatu area which is now protected as a National Park. But it faced setbacks; deforestation led to habitat loss and fragmentation which restricted their movement, high human-tiger conflict which led to the killing of tigers, and inbreeding in isolated tiger populations.
Bali’s Declining Tiger Population
(Mongabay 2015) – According to the 2013 Bali Barat National Park Management Plan, there are only 30 tigers left with an estimated population of 100-130 adults existing due to poaching, habitat loss, and fragmentation (Eco-Business 2014). Rapid deforestation happening on the island within the last five years resulted in just 6% of forest cover remaining today (WWF 2011). Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary has lost three-quarters of its forest cover since 1985 (Clements et al., 2010) while over half of Uluwatu is now built up by hotels, homes, and shops (Mongabay 2015).
Bali’s Tiger Controversy
(Eco-Business 2014) – The Bali government in 1981 signed an agreement to allow 400 tigers to be hunted in the Indonesian province of Bali. This was for them to sell tiger skins, bones, and other parts which are used in traditional Chinese medicines. However, this number was criticized by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), a non-profit conservation organization that works on protecting tigers and their habitats (Siegert et al., 2008). WCS suggested that the Bali provincial government should conduct surveys focusing on determining population densities and spatial requirements of tigers instead of conducting a large-scale hunt which could result in extinction (Siegert et al., 2008).
Facts about Tigers
1. Tigers are the largest amongst other wild cats
You undoubtedly knew this, but you also knew that the male tigers were up to 300 kilos tallest among other wild cats. Jeez! It’s like weighing an average group of six people. Sitting down on you lacking your paws is all they had to do, you’d just be dead.
2. A punch from a Tiger may kill you
If Tigers leave a huge body, glance at their forehands/legs, you could send them fist combat if you’ve got a Tiger pet and a severe enemy. You can’t have an unlawful pet tiger, kidding! One swipe from the front of a Tiger’s hand is supposed to be sufficient to kill a human, or at least break one’s bones.
3. Tigers are nocturnal animals
All Tigers are not necessarily nightly, but certainly, they like hunting for the most part at night. The explanation is that Tigers prefer to avoid human confrontation during the day and patrol their territory at night.
4. Tiger cubs are born blind and only half of the cubs survive
The most terrible aspect is that the tiger kittens are blind and only some of them are still alive. The newborn cubs can’t see anything but follow their mother’s scents. Born blind and unable to keep up, most of them perish of starvation or cold. Some of them are even eaten by male tigers to make Tigress ready. This is only crazy!
5. Tigers love to swim and play in the water
In contrast to domestic cats, their bigger counterpart spends time in the water and loves to swim for hours. Because cubs and female tigers promote or develop hunting skills, they may even kill in the sea. And as adults, they are claimed to be able to swim for many kilometers and to swim even for 30 kilometers in only one day.
Also, read our article on Some facts about Starfish.