The largest of all the “big cats” in the jungle, the Tiger has been the symbol of power and strength in the human civilization across the planet. But the KING of the jungle is facing severe threat from human and in the verse of extinction.
The Scientific Name: Panthera Tigris
Once widely spread across Asia, the Tiger has shrunk in size dangerously in recent times. Its estimated as only 7% of the former population is now surviving in the wild.
Once the tiger ranged from the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea to Siberia and Indonesia. During the 19th century, these cats completely vanished from western Asia, and became restricted to isolated pockets in the remaining parts of their range. Today, their range is fragmented, and extends from India in the west to China and Southeast Asia in the east. The northern limit is close to the Amur River in south eastern Siberia. The only large island inhabited by tigers today is Sumatra. Tigers vanished from Java and Bali during the 20th century, and in Borneo are known only from fossil remains.
Tigers are essentially solitary and territorial animals. The size of a tiger’s home range mainly depends on prey abundance, and, in the case of male tigers, on access to females. A tigress may have a territory of 20 square kilometers while the territories of males are much larger, covering 60–100 km2. The ranges of males tend to overlap those of several females.
In the wild, tigers mostly feed on larger and medium sized animals. Sambar, gaur, chital, barasingha, wild boar, nilgai and both water buffalo and domestic buffalo are the tiger’s favoured prey in India. Sometimes, they also prey on leopards, pythons, sloth bears and crocodiles. In Siberia the main prey species are manchurian wapiti, wild boar, sika deer, moose, roe deer, and musk deer.
Mating can occur all year round, but is generally more common between November and April. A female is only receptive for a few days and mating is frequent during that time period. A pair will copulate frequently and noisily, like other cats. The gestation period is 16 weeks. The litter size usually consists of around 3–4 cubs of about 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) each, which are born blind and helpless. The females rear them alone, sheltering them in dens such as thickets and rocky crevices. The father of the cubs generally takes no part in rearing them.
The size of the tiger varies from subspecies to subspecies. Siberian Tiger that is supposed to be the largest among all the subspecies, can grow 3.5 meter in length and more than 300 KG in weight. The males normally weigh 1.5 times more than the females. Similar to the size, the color alo depends upon the subspecies. Typically they have rusty-reddish to brown-rusty coats, a whitish medial and ventral area, a white \”fringe\” that surrounds the face, and stripes that vary from brown or gray to pure black. The form and density of stripes differs among subspecies.