The Bengal tiger, popularly known as the Royal Bengal Tiger, is a majestic predator. Its scientific name is Panthera tigris ( Tiger). It lives in high altitudes, subtropical and tropical rainforests, mangroves, grasslands in the nations of Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Myanmar.
The Bengal Tiger is one of the most endangered species of Earth at present. Although there are wildlife laws that intend to protect this gorgeous creature, its numbers continue to decrease. India’s national animal is at great risk of becoming extinct. It is found mainly in India with the rare presence in some countries of East Asia like Nepal and China.
Basic information about the Bengal Tiger
Bengal tigers are huge, beautiful cats. They can become as long as 130 inches and they weight in between 250 and 700 pounds, that is, 115 and 320 kg. The Royal Bengal Tigers are solitary predators who are known for marking their territory by using their scent. A rare variation is that some of the Bengal tigers are white in color.
How did Bengal Tigers become endangered species?
Not just Bengal tigers but all tigers are at risk in the present situation. The biggest threat to the survival of these beasts is illegal poaching. Though the number of tigers present in sanctuaries, tiger reserves, and National Parks has been stabilized, poaching still continues in Asia.
Poachers hunt Bengal tigers illegally for their skin and other body parts which are of great use in traditional medicine in Asia. Some of the other threats faced by Bengal tigers are fragmentation of population, loss of habitat and unavailability of their preferred prey.
- Lack of preferred prey
These carnivorous animals like to hunt and eat wild boars, water buffaloes, rhino calves, gaur, deer goats, badgers and young ones of elephants. Due to human encroachment, the numbers of these herbivores are decreasing every day. So, the Tigers are facing scarcity of preferred food.
- Change in climate
Change in climatic conditions like global warming threatens the natural habitat of the Bengal tiger. They are unable to adjust with such changes with the environment. In Sundarbans, for example, the natural habitat of these tigers is shrinking because of coastal erosion and they are forced to move northward.
How are the humans harming the Bengal tigers?
Several human activities are responsible for the decrease in the number of Bengal tigers:
The massive growth of population in India has lessened the natural habitat of the Bengal tiger. Crop cultivation, road construction etc. has also lessened the abundance of prey for tigers. The habitat range of the Bengal tiger is 20 times shorter than what was there at the beginning of the 20th century.
Hunters and poachers kill the Bengal tiger for earning money by selling their pelts. Several items made of the body parts of the Bengal tiger are sold in the black market at high prices.
Several measures are adopted for saving the tigers. July 29 is celebrated as International Tiger Day worldwide. Laws should be stricter in order to save the Bengal Tiger from becoming extinct.