Drinking Bengal Tiger
A 9 year old male Bengal Tiger Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh, India. My first experience up close and personal with a wild tiger! ?
After hearing him feasting on a kill in the morning, we returned to the jungle in the afternoon in the hope he would emerge to drink from a nearby pool.
Others clearly had the same plan and at first there were several jeeps waiting, but after an hour or so with no activity the other jeeps gradually gave up until we were the only ones remaining.
After a while some lucky stragglers arrived and no sooner had they got into position, we heard a rustle in the vegetation. This was it! Gradually a huge stripy head appeared though the tall grass and after a quick check around he headed to the pool and began to drink. After a good roll in the grass he turned and headed right towards our jeep! Tiger attacks are actually very rare but when faced with a fully grown male tiger just feet away, the adrenaline really kicks in! However he wasn’t interested in us at all and strolled across the road right in front of the other jeep (which sadly blocked my view of the crossing!) and melted back into the jungle. An incredible experience!
Tiger Stripes : About the Bengal Tiger:
The Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is one of the worlds most beautiful and easily recognisable animals. These imposing felines are also commonly known as the Royal Bengal Tiger or the Indian tiger and they are the tiger subspecies with the largest population (around 50% of all wild tigers). At one time there was nine different tiger subspecies, but three sadly became extinct during the 20th century (the Bali tiger, the Caspian tiger and the Javan Tiger). Over the last century, hunting and forest destruction have vastly reduced tiger populations from hundreds of thousands of animals to fewer than 3000, although populations are slowly increasing in some areas thanks to strict conservation efforts.
The Bengal Tiger is India’s national animal where they have become an integral part of the traditions and cultural beliefs. The largest world populations of Bengal tigers are in India, where they can be found in tropical rainforests, marshes, and grasslands with good cover. Here their striped coats camouflage them perfectly in their jungle habitat. Interestingly their stripe pattern differs from individual to individual and as a result, there are no two tigers with the same stripe pattern; much like our unique fingerprint patterns. Although India has the largest population there are also smaller populations in Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal. The tiger census of 2016 indicates that there are 106 tigers in Bangladesh, 103 in Buthan, 198 in Nepal and 2,226 in India.
You can find out more about Bengal Tigers here.
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