West Bengal is a land of natural beauty, exquisite lyrical poetry and enthusiastic people. Situated in the east of India, West Bengal is stretches from the Himalayas in the north to the Bay of Bengal in the South.
The Bengal Tiger is a majestic and exotic animal. With average male weight of about 440lbs and 10' in length, the Bengal Tiger is the second largest cat alive today with males weighing an average However, a male Bengal Tiger was killed in 1967 weighing a tremendous 857 pounds!
The scientific name of tiger is 'Panthera tigris'. It is believed that the royal cat originated from Siberia. From there, they migrated down south as the climate became colder. Tigers are found in Siberia, Manchuria and the Asian continent. In Asia, India and Malaysia are the two significant countries where tigers live. The Indian tigers, the Royal Bengal tigers are the most harmonious animals found in Sundarban in Bengal.
The Bengal tiger is most numerous in the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans in eastern India and Bangladesh where the River Ganges meets the Bay of Bengal. They are also found in other areas of India as well as some parts of Nepal and Burma.
Since Bengal tigers are solitary and do not like to share their hunting grounds, they need large home ranges in which to hunt. Males occupy about 20 square miles, while females typically require 17 square miles. A tiger usually has several dens in its home range and uses whichever one is most convenient at the time.
The wild Bengal tiger is the largest found tiger in India. The World Conservation Union Cat Specialist Group has estimated between 3,250 - 4,700 Bengal tigers in the Indian sub-continent. There are 66 different protected zones for the Bengal tigers in India. There are 3 protected zones for Bengal tigers in Nepal inhabiting around 150-250 tigers, 4 protected areas in Bhutan housing 50-250 tigers, 3 protected areas in Bangladesh housing 300-450 tigers. The number of wild Bengal tigers in Myanmar is unknown.
Bengal tigers have been captivated in zoos since 1880. The first zoo in India to provide habitat to the tigers was the Alipore Zoo in Calcutta. They have been bred so successfully in captivity that there are astonishingly high captive Bengals today. Many are sent to sanctuaries to live out their lives. The International Tiger Studbook says the total captive population of pure- bred (there has been a lot of crossing of pure Bengals with tigers of unknown descent) Bengal tigers is 333. Of those 333, 289 have the orange color typical of tigers and the remaining 44 are white. All of the pure strain captive Bengal tigers are housed in zoos in India except for 1 pure strain female Bengal tiger that is housed in the United States.
The Royal Bengal tiger, the national animal of India is an incredible sight. With its orange hide marked with dark stripes, its white underbelly, long tail, huge paws and fearsome teeth, the Royal Bengal Tiger of India is justifiably called the "King of the Jungle." It is the largest of the Big Cats. There are several subspecies of Tiger of which the Siberian Tiger is the largest.
Bengal Tiger In India
Set amidst the Vindya Hills of Madhya Pradesh, Bandhavgarh is core area of 105 sq km and a buffer area of approximately 400 sq km . The setting for this park is impressive, the ruins of the ancient fort from which this park derives its name provides a stunning backdrop.
Corbett National Park :
Started in 1936, the Corbett National Park is one of the oldest Sanctuary of India. It is named after the fearless hunter Jim Corbett. He lived in these hills and saved the life of many local people from the man-eater, the tiger, at the risk of his own life. The park area spans over 1,318 square kms. The Ramaganga river flows through its entire length. The park can be explored by open jeep or elephant rides. There is also a watchtower in the park. The animals here include deer, monkeys and birds, wild elephants, tigers, leopards, black bear, wild boar, snakes and crocodiles. December to April is the best viewing time. Open 16 November to14 June, closed 15 June to 15 November
Ranthambore National Park :
Spanning over an area 392 sq km, Ranthambhore National Park was once the hunting preserve of the Maharajas of Jaipur. The rivers Chambal in the South and Banas in the North bound the Ranthambore National Park. There are six man made lakes are the central focus of the park and many perennial streams criss-cross the entire park. Ranthambore National Park is located in eastern Rajasthan at the junction of Aravalis and Vindhya hills.
Ranthambore National Park is quite popular for tigers. Although the park shows a rich diversity of flora and fauna here. About 300 species of trees, 50 species of aquatic plants, 272 birds species, 12 reptiles species 30 species mammals. Other than tiger, other animals found in Ranthambore are Nilgai, Sambhar, Chital, Sloth Bear, Wild Boar, Chinkara, Porcupine, Jackal, Leopard, Jungle Cat and marsh Crocodile.