Tigers – The National Animal of India

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Tigers - The National Animal of India
Image – Pixabay

Introduction:

 ‘Tiger’- this word is enough to petrify anybody but do know, this giant animal actually belongs to the cat family. Recognized by its reddish-orange skin with dark black stripes, a tiger is the largest feline walking on the earth. Though tigers are categorized as the wildcat, they are specifically known for being powerful, quick and agile. 

Origin and habitat of tigers:

Where and when did the tigers evolved, is still an answered question. Penning down its exact origin is extremely hard because with the course of time and according to their habitation, the features of tigers are changed so much that the ancient tigers seem a different species as compared to that of today’s.  

Usually, tigers live in forests and woodlands but since it’s an endangered species now, many of them are found in the confines of the zoo and national parks. 

Physical appearance and capabilities of tigers:

Tiger is a massive animal blessed with some unique qualities. Let’s have a quick overview of a tiger’s internal and external attractiveness.

Nature-

Do you know? Tigers are believed to be the calm but aggressive animal at the same time. They harm anybody only when either they’re hungry or they have been teased. Otherwise, they spare their target especially the humans. By nature, a tiger is a solitary animal. You can never found the streak of tigers. Unlike lions, they roam, hunt, and eat alone. 

Appearance-

A red- orange colored with black strips animal so-called tiger is an attractive and solid animal. Its elegance, power, mighty way of walking, and mysterious beauty have intrigued human beings for many generations. Its sheer aesthetic splendor makes it stand apart from the crowd.  

Stamina-

A tiger has over 600 muscles and a strong bone structure that makes it the strongest and the apex predators. A tiger can leap over 30 feet in a single jump to catch its prey. It can eat up to 60 pounds of meat in one sitting but usually, it consumes around 12-pound meats in one meal. The tigers are powerful swimmers too. They can swim the long river like Ken. The lifespan of tigers is maximum 20 years.

Food and feeding-

Tigers are totally carnivorous animals. They usually prey on large animals like pigs, deer, water buffalo, elephant calves, and antelopes.  Generally, tigers clamp down on animal’s neck with their sharp jaws and piercing teeth. 

Importance of Tigers in Indian history and mythology:

 In Indian culture, tigers have always been revered and remained a matter of myths since the Vedic era. In India, tigers are the symbol of power, strength, and ambition. In medieval history, Tiger was the royal symbol of Chola Empire. 

Maa Durga is the most worshiped and highest regarded Goddess in Hinduism. In most statues and pictures, she is depicted sitting on the back of tiger. In modern world, Reserve Bank of India has given the place of pride to the tigers by choosing them as its emblem. Their portrait can be seen in some Indian currency. 

Types of Tigers:

There are total 9 subspecies of tigers, of which only three are seen nowadays. And they are- 

  1. Bengal Tiger – present
  2. Siberian Tiger – present
  3. Sumatran Tiger – endangered
  4. Malayan Tiger –endangered
  5. Indochinese Tiger – endangered
  6. Caspian Tiger- extinct
  7. Bali Tiger – extinct
  8. Javan Tiger – extinct
  9. South China Tiger – endangered

Tiger in danger or tiger conservation in India:

The poaching and the hunting of tigers have always been considered the royal activities though they actually are inhuman. With the time, this royal hobby had brought the world to the stage where tigers were going extinct rapidly. 

In 1973, late PM Indira Gandhi Ji took a big step initiating a campaign called ‘Project Tigers’ to preserve the tigers. She established 25 tiger reserves throughout the country and kept allocating the funds regularly so that campaign could meet the expectations. As a result, the numbers of tigers hiked around 58% in last 4-5 decades.  

That is truly is a great feat in order to conserve the tigers. Presently, India houses almost 70% of world’s wild tigers.

Tiger as a national animal of India:

The majestic and powerful tiger boasts the honor of being the national animal of India. Now, you can assume the amount of regard and significance that Indian people hold for tigers. Other than utmost power and strength, tiger symbolizes wildlife wealth of India.

 Tiger is a lethal combination of grace, royalty, elegance, enormous power, agility, and aspiration that represents the wholesome spirit and soul of India.  When in 1972, the tiger population was going through a critical phase it was declared the national animal of India replacing the lion with the purpose to preserve the particular species. Today, lions are found only in one state in the country while tigers are found in 16 states. 

Facts about tigers:

  • Tigers can kill the animals over twice of its size and they are the largest animal from cat family.
  • The roar of a tiger can be heard miles away.
  • Tigers have more than 100 strips and they are like fingerprints.  Means, no two tigers have exactly the same stripes. 
  • Tigers are completely blind in the first week of their birth and about half of them die as a cub. 
  • Tigers are very good at jumping. They can leap over the distances of 6 km and jump up to 5 km.
  • The entire tiger species is on the verge of extinction. It is estimated that all the existing tigers can go extinct in maximum 15 years. 
  • Tigers are considered very calm animal. They hardly indulge in fights and consider human as a prey only in very odd conditions. 
  • Tigers are a good runner. They can sprint at 60km/h.
  • Tigers have color vision and brain like humans.

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