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Bengal Tigers - Panthera tigris tigris

It is speculated that approximately 3000 to 4800 Bengal Tigers exist in the wild today. A majority of these animals live in India, particularly with-in the Sunderbans (the worlds largest patch of mangrove forest). However sparse populations do range through Bhuta, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar. International captive breading programs maintain additional animals.

The Bengal Tiger is a large cat! Often approaching the length of its larger counter part the Siberian Tiger. Although recorded lengths measure over 10 feet, the Bengal Tiger is a significantly less massive cat averaging 400 to 500 pounds. However, a male Bengal Tiger was killed in 1967 weighing a tremendous 857 pounds!

The Bengal Tiger is a highly adaptable feline, living in a wide range of habitats. From the high cold altitudes of the Himalayan forests, to the hot steamy mangroves of the Sunderbans, the Bengal Tiger makes it home. Its only requirements being adequate water, cover and prey.

Bengal Tiger Click Here to listen to their powerful growl

This subspecies prefers to hunt large prey items like the Samber deer and wild cattle. The Bengal Tiger has also been observed hunting and eating pigs, monkeys, birds and even snakes! Of all of the five living subspecies, the Bengal Tiger has the worst reputation as a "Man Eater"! Jim Corbett, the author of Man-Eaters of Kumaon, states that no more than three out of one thousand tigers were guilty of attacking humans. The culprits of human attacks were in most cases geriatric or injured cats, living in areas with diminished natural prey. In most cases, the tigers kill adult male humans traveling last in line amoungst a group. It is standard practice now for the person last in line to wear a mask with bold eyes wide-open staring backwards to hopefully reduce attacks. This reduces the tiger's ability to stalk the men because it appears is if he is looking in both directions. As funny as this mask wearing technique may seem, when used it has proven to reduce attacks to zero.

Listed on Appendix One of CITES, and classified as ENDANGERED, Panthera tigris tigris needs protection! Continued poaching and habitat loss must stop. I strongly recommend everyone take the time to look at the work being done by the WPSI (The Wildlife Protection Society of India) on the conservation and protection of this species.

For more information on Tigers, go to 5 Tigers.org . The most comprehnsive tiger website!