Tigers have evolved over 2 million years, so their presence on the planet has been long. However, they now face severe threats that could take them to extinction which can get worse if conservation efforts do not give the results expected, to allow them to live in a natural environment free of dangers, at least to some extent.
There are around 4,000 tigers in the wild today and almost 10,000 including those in captivity. Yes, there are more tigers in captivity than in their natural habitat, and this fact should be worrisome.
The Latin name of Indian sub-species is Panthera tigris tigris (Royal Bengal tiger). As per the last All India Tiger Estimation, there are 2226 tigers in our country. This population forms around 57% of the world population of around 3900 tigers. Tiger populations in some of the range countries are extremely precarious, and their numbers lie around the presumed ecological thresholds as far as their viability is concerned.
While an adult male weights between 180-230 kg, adult females 135-185 kg. The total length of an adult male and adult female is 2.75-2.90 m. and 2.60 m. respectively. Each foreleg has five toes, and hind lege has four toes. An amazing predator, and adult giter has a very protective skeletal system and a strongly built, muscular body. The two strong forelimbs, reinforced additionally by the body weight and with retractile sharp and curved claws, help the hunter grab and hold its prey tightly.
The average life span of a tiger is around 12 years in the wild. In the captivity, however, with proper veterinary care and nutrition, they may survive upto 20 years. Tigers attain sexual maturity by around 2.5-3 years of age. The gestation period is around 105 days, and the female delivers a litter of 2-3 cubs. Even 4-5 cubs in a litter are not abnormal. These cubs are born blind and remain so for about 10 days.
The tigress is responsible for rearing and training these cubs. Weaving takes place when the cubs are around six months old. Cubs are trained in the art of survival through following their mother, hunting the prey, and avoiding risks. These cubs separate from their mother when they around 2 years old. At this time they reach semi-adulthood and are green horns, curious and explorative.
Tigers are obligate carnivores, or meat eaters, and their hunting strategies require dense forests cover. The hunt through stealth to stalk, and their prey base constitutes a wide range of ungulates, they are also known to kill porcupines, monkeys, and smaller mammals. Adult tigers are generally solitary, however, they are also seen with females during his “territory” against his rivals. Infighting between males is common in a high density area.
- Currently, five sub-species of tigers in the world
- Latin name of Indian sub-species: Panthera tigris tigris (Royal Bengal tiger)
- Indian population: 2226 (as per the last four-yearly all India tiger population estimation)
- Forms around 57% of the world population
- Weight: Adult male (180-230 kg.) and adult female )135-185 kg.)
- Length: Adult male 2.75-2.90 m. and adult female around 2.60 m.
- Number of toes: 18 (5 in each fore leg, 4 in hind leg)
- Life span: in the wild around 12 years, and in captivity around 20 years
- Sexual maturity: At around 2.5-3 years
- Gestation period: Around 105 days
- Litter sie: 2-3 cubs, even 4-5 cubs are not abnormal
- Cubs are born blind, open eyes in around 10 days
- The tigress is responsible for rearing and training the cubs
- Separation of cubs from mother at around 20-24 months age
- Habits: Carnivore, peripatetic, adult males generally solitary
- Habitat: Dense forests, with prey base
- Prey base: ungulate species (hoofed animals), sometimes cattle also
- Infighting between males common for territory
Generally speaking, successful tiger conservation involved stringent protection throughout the year, good prey base of a wide range of ungulates, and, of course, completely inviolate space for natural movement. Excellent protected areas like Kanha harbors amazing natal areas for these super cats. Tigers, however, vitally need to be conserved outside these protected areas through functional and effective ecological corridors.
Wildlife Estimate, Kanha Tiger Reserve ,2015