National animal of India
We all know that ‘The Royal Bengal Tiger‘ is known as our National animal of India. Its scientific name is ‘Panthera Tigris‘. It comes from ‘Felidae‘ family. It is known for its ‘grace, strength, and incredible power’ in India. Here we will discuss the significance to adopt it as the National animal.
The tiger is a powerful and colorful animal of the cat family. It is the biggest member of its family. The tiger has powerful physical features as listed below.
Height- Tiger’s height lies between 90 to 110 cms.
Length & weight
India: the normal length of male tigers found from 2.7 meters to 3.4 meter and female tigers are comparatively less in length varies from 2.4 meters to 2.6 meters.
The weight of the male Indian Tiger is also more than the female tiger. Male tigers generally 220 kgs weighted and female tigers weight lies around 140 kgs.
The size of a tiger depends on the subspecies and the geographical location of its habitat. The northern part tends to be larger than those in the south. The male adult ‘Bengal tiger’ found in northern India can weigh up to 220 kgs and measure just less than 3.4 meters. On the other hand, the ‘Sumatran tiger’ who’s native to the ‘Indonesian island of Sumatra’ can weigh up to 120 kgs and measures 2.5 meters.
Teeth and Jaw
The tiger uses its powerful jaw to trap and kill its hunt. Each tiger has approximately 30 razor-sharp teeth in its mouth.
The tiger has good & strong eyesight. It has large pupils and lenses, which allows it to see clearly during day hours, the tiger can see six times more clearly than humans at night. That’s why it often hunts at night.
Hair & stripes
Tiger’s body is full of hairs to protect and camouflage themselves in their habitat. They have two types of hair guard hair and underfur. The guard hair is long and protects the skin. The underfur is shorter and traps air to insulate. The color of the hair provides camouflage. There’s also a distinct dark striping pattern on its hair and skin. Each Tiger has a different pattern on its body, they are usually light orange to reddish. Some tigers are white with brown stripes.
Tigers have normally 1-meter long tail. It also uses its tail to communicate. It is said, If he is relaxed, then the tail hangs loosely. If he is feeling aggressive, he moves the tail quickly from one side to another side.
Legs and Claws
Tiger has a muscular pair of legs, the tiger is a fast predator. Five sharp claws on each foot are the main weapon against any prey or hunt to the tiger. The tiger scratches its claws against trees to sharpen them. The claws allow a tiger to climb and collect things. A male tiger’s paws are larger than that of a female tiger.
Speed- Average speed 65 Km/Hr
Age- The average age of a tiger is 10 to 15 years.
Found & Species
Tigers like to live in the dense forest such as in caves among dense vegetation or in hollow trees. Most of its categories are found in India, Southeast Asia, Western China, and some parts of Russia, with breeding populations present in Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Russia, and Nepal.
There are six ‘Extant or living’ species and three ‘Extinct’ species (विलुप्त प्रजातियां)
Sumatran Tiger – Panthera tigris Sumatrae
Amur Tiger – Panthera tigris altaica
Bengal Tiger – Panthera tigris
Indochinese Tiger – Panthera tigris corbetti
South China Tiger – Panthera tigris amoyesis
Malayan Tiger – Panthera tigris Jacksoni
Ball Tiger – Panthera tigris Balica
Caspian Tiger – Panthera tigris Virgata
Javan Tiger – Panthera tigris Sondaica
Note: White tigers are not a separate sub-species but are white due to an expression of recessive genes. Interestingly, the white tigers are found only among the Indian tigers and can only be seen only in captivity now. The last white tiger reported in the wild was captured in the forests of Rewa in the state of Madhya Pradesh. The white tigers found in the zoos today are most likely descendants of this one tiger that was caught from the wild in Madhya Pradesh and later bred in captivity. White tigers have pink noses, white-to-cream colored fur, and black, grey, or chocolate-colored stripes. Their eyes are usually blue but may be green or amber
Tigers are powerful apex predators that are at the top of the food chain and capable of killing & eating animals over twice their size. Tiger’s favorite animals are ‘Deer, Buffalo and Wild boar’ etc.
There is no definite mating & birth season in Tigers. Normally male tigers mature around the age of 4-5 years while female tigers reach their reproduction maturity around the age of 3-4 years. Tigers usually breed from October to April.
Female tigers can convince, 3-9 weeks. Litters of two to six cubs are born around 16 weeks after copulation. Cubs remain with their mothers for 2 to 3 years, after they start hunting their own.
The cubs are born blind but their eyes open between six to twelve days after birth. The mortality rate of tiger cubs is very high. Often only half live to reach maturity.
They start to learn hunting during the age of 6 months & became perfect at the age of 11 months. And fully independent at the age of 3 years.
Historical & Cultural significance
Tigers occupy an important place in Indian culture. Since ages, the tiger has been the symbol of magnificence, power, beauty, and fierceness and has been associated with bravery and valor. Tiger plays a pivotal role in the health and diversity of an ecosystem.
Tiger is one of the animals displayed on the Pashupati seal of the Indus Valley Civilization. The tiger was the symbol of the Chola Dynasty and was depicted on coins, seals, and banners.
On Indian Rupee
Hindu believes that the lord Shiva wears and sits on a tiger skin. The goddess Durga’s carrier is also Tigris (or Lion) from the same family. In southern India ‘The god Ayyappan’ was associated with a tiger. In Greco-Roman tradition, the tiger was depicted being ridden by the god Dionysus.
Hindu grantha ‘Mahabharata’ the tigers were said more ruthless & dangerous than the lion.
Buddhist beloved that the tiger is one of the Three Senseless Creatures, symbolizing anger, with the monkey representing greed and the deer lovesickness. The Tungusic peoples considered the Siberian tiger a near-deity and often referred to it as “Grandfather” or “Old man”. The Udege and Nanai called it “Amba”.
Apart from this, it is said that in the early 16th century. The Mughal Emperor Jalal-ud-Din Muhammad Akbar’s passion was hunting of Tigers. that was become a tradition of that age and carried out by Mughal rulers until the dynasty fell in 1857.
The British rulers crossed the Mughals tradition by elaborating on the big game of Tiger’s hunting. It was an activity that shows their royalty, power, and wealth.
In 1911, King George V and his retinue traveled north to Nepal, slaying 39 tigers in 10 days. Colonel Geoffrey Nightingale shot more than 300 tigers in India.
And as per history, “over 80,000 tigers were hunted in 50 years from 1875 to 1925.
Hunting history by the end of 1971 approximately 1800 Tigers were left alive and the Tiger Task Force predicted they would be extinct (विलुप्त) by the end of the century. That year the Delhi High Court banned tiger killing, despite opposition from the trophy hunting industry.
“Project Tiger” and its Population
In 1973, Indian prime minister ‘Smt. Indira Gandhi’ launched “Project Tiger,” which still stands as the world’s most comprehensive tiger conservation initiative. She established nine tiger reserves, hired guards to patrol them, and forcefully moved whole villages outside their range. At the time of Gandhi’s death on 31st Oct. 1984, tiger numbers were 4000. According to Tiger’s census 2002, its number was 3642. And the number of Tigers start decreasing onwards, tiger deaths have been highly reported as 71 in 2011, 88 in 2012, and 80 in 2013.
India is now home to nearly 3,000 tigers, a third more than it had four years ago, according to the latest tiger census. And as per our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the tiger population has risen from 2,226 in 2014 to 2,967 in 2018.
State Tigers (census-2018)
- Andhra Pradesh – 58
- Arunachal Pradesh – 29
- Assam – 190
- Bihar – 31
- Chhattisgarh – 19
- Goa – 3
- Jharkhand – 5
- Karnataka – 524
- Kerala – 190
- Madhya Pradesh – 526
- Maharashtra – 312
- Odisha – 28
- Rajasthan – 69
- Tamil Nadu – 264
- Uttar Pradesh – 173
- Uttarakhand – 442
- West Bengal – 88
Total – 2,967
Increasing Tiger Numbers
As per our prime minister, India is “now one of the biggest and most secure habitats of the tiger”. India is now estimated to be home to around 70% of the world’s tigers.
India counts its tigers once every four years – it’s a long, arduous task that involves forest officials and scientists.
Hence after having so many qualities and important predators of the food chain the Tiger was adopted as the ‘National animal of India’ by the Indian board in 1972 in place of the Lion. It is selected for its presence in all parts of India. It’s found in above 17 states while the ‘Lion’ is found only in one state of India at Gir Forest National Park of Gujarat.
So finally it is the ‘National animal of our country for its grace, agility, and enormous power. Our National Animal is the symbol of strength, power, elegance, alertness, intelligence, and endurance of the Nation.
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