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Tigers – A Symbol of Royalty
They are symbols of royalty, power and beauty and are the national animal of India. We are definitely talking about the leopard. Currently, they are under the category of endangered animals as they are hunted by humans in large numbers because of their amazing skin that they cost the highest amount of money and their claws and teeth are jewelry. Killing so much of their beautiful animals has left its population to such an extent that they are on the verge of extinction. There are many wildlife reserves, national parks all over the world to save this beautiful animal from extinction.
It is the scientific name of tiger Panthera tigris and belongs to the phylum Chordata and the class Mammalia. The order Carnivora and the family Felidae form the complete address of the tiger. The tiger is a native of southern and eastern Asia and is an apex predator and predatory animal. The average body size of an adult tiger is 3.3 m and its body weight can be 300 kg. Tigers can be easily identified by the presence of dark vertical stripes on the orange white fur and lighter under wings. The species with the largest population of tiger is the Bengal tiger and the largest species of tiger is the Siberian tiger. They have adapted well to their habitats and can easily be found in the Siberian taiga, open grasslands and mangrove swamps. They make their own communities and like to live alone and hunt on many animals for their food. When their prey is scarce, they don’t hesitate to attack people too. Of the nine species of modern tigers three are completely extinct and the remaining six are classified as endangered species. Hunting and fragmentation are the main causes of their population decline. Tigers form the world’s most famous and mega charismatic fauna.
The word tiger is derived from the Greek word tiger which means arrow and refers to the speed of this animal. Tigers were distributed in Asia from the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea to Siberia and Indonesia in ancient times. In the 19th century, these animals disappeared from western Asia and were confined to a small pocket of nearby areas. Currently the only island that provides shelter to the largest number of tigers in Sumatra. There are also populations of tigers in India, China and Southeast Asia. Borneo is famous for housing only fossils of tigers. Leopards prefer to live in areas where there is enough green cover, plenty of prey and water sources. Bengal tiger has a wide habitat range. They live in the cool, green, temperate forests of Assam, the mangrove forests of the Ganges Delta, the forests of Nepal and the thorn forests of the Western Ghats. They are good swimmers and enjoy playing with fresh water and can swim up to 4 miles regularly.
Tigers are believed to have evolved from tigers as cats Panthera palaeosinensis the rest have been found in China and Java. It is believed that these cats existed two decades ago in the Pleistocene and were smaller than modern tigers. The first fossils of true tigers are believed to be between 1.6 and 1.8 million years old. Tigers are the most beautiful among all the members of the cat family. They have red fur coats to brown fur coats with white sleeves. it has white skin around the eyes and stripes of black or black on the coat which is red in color. The number of stripes varies according to species but every tiger has an average of about a hundred stripes. The shape of the stripe is characteristic of individual tiger sections and is used for species identification. The open body works as a weapon of camouflage and helps the tiger to remain invisible in the prey area and helps in getting the prey easily with little effort. The tigers have a white spot behind their ears called ocelli which acts as a social symbol and is present in all big cats. The distinguishing characters of tigers include powerful legs and shoulders just like those of lions which help them to catch and drag preys that are heavier and larger than their own bodies. Body weight and body weight vary according to species. Tigresses are usually smaller than males and males are generally 1.7 times larger in size compared to females. This difference is spent in all parts of the regions. The skull of a tiger is similar to that of a lion with some differences in the length of the skull.
Currently there are nine recognized regions of which three are completely extinct. These are Bengal or Royal tiger, Indochinese tiger, Malayan tiger, Sumatran tiger, Siberian tiger, South China tiger. These are the species of tigers that exist today and they are looking for ways to increase in numbers equal to the one that occurred in the past. In 1977 the Chinese government passed a law to ban the mass killing of this majestic animal but it has been too long and some species have already faced extinction. Extinct species of tigers include the Bali tiger, the Javan tiger and the Caspian tiger. Interbreeding of tigers began in the 19th century when lions and tigers were crossed and the resulting offspring were given the names ligers and tigons. This practice was first tried in zoos and is under the strict control of the Chinese government. A liger is the result of a cross between a male lion and a tigress and a tigon is the result of a cross between a male tiger and a female lion.
The white tiger is the result of a very well-known mutation called albinistic chinchilla. White tigers are actually rare in the wild and are kept in zoos because of their popularity. The breeding of white tigers may also be responsible for inbreeding. White tigers are not genetic but the result of color variation especially in Bengal tigers and only one white tiger occurs in every 10,000 live births. The gene that carries such a change is a recessive gene and is inherited either by either of the two parents. Another recessive genetic mutation is responsible for the birth of golden tabby tigers which have light golden fur, yellow legs and very faint orange stripes. The population of golden tabby tigers is only 30.
Tigers are truly solitary animals but they have well-marked territories. The extent of their territories depends on the availability of prey and access to females. The territory of the tigress can be up to 20 square kilometers but males have larger territories which can extend up to 60-100 square kilometers. When a young tigress makes her territory she prefers an area close to her mother’s territory while the young males prefer to make their territories in areas without another male. Men are very violent and often fight for women. Terrible violent fights occur between males especially when the female is in estrous and the death of a weaker opponent can also result in such fights. Leopards mark their territories by urinating, anal secretions, and sit. They are also clamoring to protect their territories. Tigers generally prey on large and medium sized animals which include chital, gaur, sambar, deer, wild boar and buffalo. Sometimes they also hunt leopards, leprechauns for their food. Old or injured tigers that cannot hunt often kill people like the Sunderbans tigers in India are man-eaters. Leopards also feed on plants for their fiber intake and the fiber of the Slow Match tree is highly favored. Tigers prefer to hunt at night either alone or in groups and run at a speed of 49-65 kilometers per hour. In a hunting war the only result is killing the prey. When hunting on larger animals they tend to take the throat with the help of the forearms and the prey dies due to strangulation. While preying on smaller animals they eat the nape, break the spine or often pierce the spine.
Mating in tigers can occur at any time but the most preferred months are November and April. Females only accept for a short time and within this time mating must take place. The mating pair copulate very often and loudly like other cats and the gestation period is of 16 weeks. The number of children produced can be 3-4 and each of them 1 kg, blind and weak. Tigress takes part in caring for the young and the father is not involved in parenting. After five months, the tigress will give birth to another litter and the previous ones will disappear. The young after 8 weeks come out of the den and are ready to follow their mother. A child who is dominant over either sex is in the litter. The children stayed with their mother until they were two and a half years old. Females reach maturity at the age of 3-4 years and males at the age of 4-5 years. At the end of her life that woman will give birth to an equal number of males and females.
The mass killing of tigers for fur and the destruction of their natural habitat is responsible for the decline of the population of tigers. According to reports, at the beginning of the 20th century, the total number of 100,000 tigers was reduced to only 2,000 in the wild. India is believed to have the largest population of tigers in the world. According to a report of the World Wildlife Fund out of 3,500 tigers in the world 1,400 are found in India. A special project entitled Tiger Project was started in 1973 with Indira Gandhi’s effort to save this royal animal and it is running successfully till now. Many national parks have already been established in India for the conservation of tigers. Not only in India but all over the world measures are being taken to save this beautiful animal from extinction.
Tigers are symbols of power and are a source of fear. However they look dangerous but make our forests beautiful. Come on, let’s save our tigers from destruction.
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