Bengal tiger

He is a wild animal

Origin
Central India
Translation
Francis Vandersteen
The possession of this animal is not authorized Royal Decree establishing the list of mammals not kept for production purposes that may be kept (M.B. 24.08.2009)
The Bengal tiger is a feline, and the best-known tiger subspecies. Also known as the Royal Bengal Tiger, it is lighter and less robust than the Siberian Tiger. Its population of around 2,000 is in constant decline.

The largest population of Bengal tigers is found in the natural parks of Bengal and Bangladesh. They can also be found in central and northern India, as well as in Burma and Nepal. Tigers need a large living space in which to hunt. They mark and defend territories of varying size, which can exceed 100 km2 for a male. As they are solitary animals, even a small population needs a large area in which to live and hunt. A tiger has several dens within its home range, and uses the one that suits it best at the time. They are more versatile than other tigers when it comes to biotope, and are equally at home in forests (dense or open), savannahs (shrubby or open) and swamps. It generally sleeps in the forest, and moves in the morning and late afternoon to the open savannah and marshes in search of water and prey.

In 1900, the Indian tiger population was estimated at between 40,000 and 50,000 individuals. By 1972, this figure had fallen to 1,850, and the Indian government created national parks to safeguard its tiger population. A protection program brought it back up to around 4,000 by 1984. The latest 2013 census, released by Nepal's Minister of Forests and Soil Conservation, puts the population at 198 in Nepal and Bhutan, 150 in Bangladesh and 200 in western Burma. The 2007 census shows 1,411 tigers in India. This figure is lower than the 1973 census when Project Tiger was launched.

The Bengal tiger is solitary and nocturnal, and does not like to share its domain with other tigers and animals. To discourage intruders, all tigers mark their territory by urinating strong secretions that signal their presence. They can also shred tree bark. They cover their excrement with earth. They also drag the remains of prey into a thicket, hide them under leaves and return later.

It's equally difficult to follow its trail, for although the Bengal tiger is imposing in size, it is discreet and shy by nature. As a result, Bengal tigers cover their droppings with earth and hide their killed prey in the middle of a bush. Sometimes, they even cover it with dead leaves to ensure that no other animal can taste it in their absence. Last but not least, the Bengal tiger is the only feline to feed on meat in the early stages of decomposition.

Tigers stalk by night or day. Although powerful and fast over short distances, they never run their prey further than 500 m, and cannot gain speed on prey such as deer, which reach speeds of 75 km/h. As soon as tigers spot prey, they discreetly creep up on it. With a great leap, they attack their prey from the side or rear. 250 kg fall on their victims, while claws and canines penetrate their prey. Small ones are killed by a bite to the back of the neck; large ones are bitten in the throat and suffocated. The tiger also hunts gaur and buffalo. A male gaur weighs around 900 kg: more than three times the weight of a tiger. They rarely eat their prey where they kill it. He prefers to drag it to a safe place. Most often, tigers attack animals that are old, weak, wounded, sick, pregnant or young and less resistant to attack. In the Sundarbans, the tiger's prey includes axis deer, Nilgaut antelope, wild boar, monkeys and lizards. They also sometimes attack porcupines, but if the quills become lodged in the paws, the tiger may injure itself.

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