Essay on Tiger
Earth is full of life. It has more than a thousand types of plant and animal species, and each one of them is a wonder of nature. When talking about animals, that too that live in the wild, the first few names to cross our mind would be lion, tiger, elephant, deer and so on. This essay is an elaborate description of the behaviour, hunting habits and diet of one of them, that is, a tiger.
largest surviving species of cats, and the family it belongs to is called Felidae. The morphological appearance of this wild animal is very different as it has orange-brown fur on its body that is covered in black stripes all over. It belongs to the third tropic stage of the tropic level. Being a primary consumer, tigers are carnivorous and survive by eating other animals hunted by them.
Importance of Tiger in India
A large number of tigers are found in the Indian subcontinent. This animal is known to be the national animal of India and is found in various places of the country like central India, Sundarban forests in West Bengal, Assam and so on. It has a very sacred image, considered to be a holy animal and is present in a huge number of Indian folklores being associated with the goddesses of India, for example, the goddesses Durga. This animal is represented as a mount of 'vahana' in Hindi, owned by the Indian goddesses.
Habitat and Physical Features
Tiger is an animal that is counted as endangered species, and all the students should have knowledge regarding it. It is a hunting animal, and that is why gifted with sharp claws to tear down their play. Having a strong body and a pair of deadly eyes are enough for this animal to scare everyone. Tiger uses their four sharp teeth to eat their meal properly.
But, even after having such a strong and somewhat scary appearance, tigers are still animals who prefer to stay within their territory and not step foot or hunt in the areas not provided to them. They, unlike lions, don't follow the idea of expanding territory. Its home is called a 'lair', and most tigers prefer to spend their life inside their lairs and territory. For the family knowledge, a female is known as a 'tigress', and their offspring is called a 'cub'.
Tigers have the habit of spending the entire day hunting to find food and trying their best to survive. The male tigers may get out of their liars in order to ensure that their family is not harmed. Tigers have very loud roars, scary and powerful, and they use them for communicating with other tigers as well.
Tigers are extremely clever animals as they use bushes and trees and suddenly attack their prey. Its body helps in achieving this as tigers have brown and white bodies with black stripes that camouflage with nature, making it near impossible for their prey to spot them. Tigers hunt for small animals such as goats, deer and so on, but it is also referred to as 'man-eaters'. The animal goes against nature to prey on humans in two conditions. One is that they may be harmed by humans, and the other reason might be that they are not finding any other animals to eat, and they need food for survival. Tigers do not hunt humans out of habit or neglect as it's against nature.
The wild animal, which is known to be the largest among all the big cats of Asia ( as mentioned earlier), survives by using the primary senses of sight and sound in order to catch its prey. It doesn't rely on the smell of its prey for hunting. The animal prefers to stalk and hunt their prey alone and avoids the practice of mass hunting, as some wild animals do. Tigers have the capability of consuming more than around 80 pounds of meat at one time. Tigers, on average, give birth to two to four cubs in two years. If unfortunately, one litter doesn't survive, the other one may be produced within a span of five months.
To understand a little more detail about tigers, we should focus on their taxonomy first. There are two subspecies of tigers that are recognized by scientists: The first one is the continental, i.e., Panthera tigris tigris, and the other one is Sunda, i.e., Panthera tigris spondaica. The wild animal gains independence by leaving its parents at the age of around two years. Female tigers attain sexual maturity by the age of three or four and males by five or six. Tigers, on average, reach up to the age of 20 years in the wild.
The animal is considered to be solitary at most times, as they prey, hunt and survive alone. However, there are obvious relations between mothers and offspring. Tigers that are solitary are said to have a widespread territory for which the size is determined by the availability of food in that area. Tigers use certain methods to mark their territory, such as by urine, rakes, vocalizing and so on. They do so to let other fellow tigers know about their territory, and others are to follow this arrangement. If they don't, it often leads to aggressive fights between the two.
Need for Conservation of Tigers
After facing a decline in numbers for over 100 years, finally, the population of tigers is starting to rise again. Most reliable sources provide information that the population of tigers are increasing or stable in countries like Nepal, Bhutan, India, China and Russia as well. The number of tigers estimated to be present in the wild is close to 4000, but there is still a lot of hard work to be done in ensuring the safety and secure future of this species in upcoming years. If we focus on the negatives, there are places in the world like Southeast Asia where this wild animal is still in crisis and gradually declining in number as well.
The reason behind the decline of the number of tigers despite so many conservative measures is the pressure that it feels from poaching practices, retaliatory killings done by the villagers and, of course, habitat loss. Ever growing human population acts as a threat to the wild, and these wild animals like tigers are bound to fight for their habitat and food from them. Humans are reckless in their activities and thus lead to problems and threats for wild animals. A report said that poaching activities increased in India during the time of the COVID-19 lockdown in the country.
Conservation is highly necessary as the decline of the number of tigers on earth is costing nature more than just the extinction of one animal species but wiping out a number of them which are related to tigers in some way or the other. It is also the other way around as the food necessary for the survival of carnivorous animals, i.e., small animals, is also wiped out as a result of poaching, which in turn results in the starving of tigers.
Poaching refers to the illegal killing and trafficking of wild animals and certain plants just to earn some money by meeting the never-ending demands of foreign buyers. Tigers, similarly, are killed to meet and continue the demand for products made with their bone and skin. The market that illegally trades in tiger products such as tiger skins, body parts and other products like bone wine is spread as a highly sophisticated kind of network across all countries that have tigers. This unethical demand and business that is run by heartless trades and poachers have resulted in a drastic decline in the number of tigers across the world. It has affected the animal so much that it is now counted as an endangered species.
Humans recklessly kill tigers without worrying about the fact that it is leading to the eventual death of a complete ecosystem. Tigers are killed for their bones and skin, which have a ridiculously high in the foreign market. In addition to that, tigers also face death as a result of their intentional or non-intentional attacks on humans. The decreasing count of tigers is an issue which is also caused by urbanization and needs to be given great attention if we are to save our wildlife from extinction. One way to ensure the safety of tigers on earth is to adopt certain conservative strategies which focus on planning and acting in a way that benefits the endangered wild animal.
In order to create a world in which tigers have no threat and are enough in numbers, we have to focus on how to stop tiger killings and trafficking of them across the world. To achieve that, we need to follow some strategies that work as an important step toward tiger conservation. They include;
1. Protect tigers and their habitat:
We need to safeguard tigers and ensure that their adequate number is maintained in every forest where tigers are found. This can be done by increasing the area that comes under PAs (protected areas). If we increase the land that comes under protected areas, then this results in the safety of habitat for the wild animals, which eventually helps the wild animals in their survival. In this era, when the population is increasing rapidly and urbanization is at its peak, humans are continuing to exploit forests to meet their daily needs. To stop that and save land for the wild, increasing PAs is a great strategy.
2. Reduce human-tiger conflict:
In order to save tigers from extinction, we need to focus on every aspect that leads to the untimely death of wild animals. This also includes a very important and dangerous problem, i.e., human-tiger conflict. This problem is caused by a number of reasons, and the main one is urbanization. When humans invade the tiger's habitat to build their own houses, it results in habitat loss and the animal is forced to come out of the forest in search of food and shelter. Human-tiger conflict results in retaliatory killings of tigers when they harm the crop of domestic animals. To stop this, some sensitive forest areas should be restricted, and government should give compensation to the people who face losses. This would result in a decrease in retaliatory killings a little.
3. Conduct scientific research:
Science can help solve a lot of problems, and if used properly, it can act as a saviour. In order to find ways which help in effectively conserving tigers, we need to conduct scientific researches and experiments that would help us get the detailed information regarding the do's and don'ts when we are practising tiger conservation. It would also help us get solid results from the experiments so that the groundwork won't fail completely.
4. Promote tiger-friendly policies:
Introducing government policies that ensure the safety of tigers and promote their conservation by focusing on the importance of tigers can be an effective way to ensure their safety. When people are made aware of a certain situation and how it involves public engagement in tackling it, it works a lot as the government has influence over the citizens.
5. Monitoring progress and threats:
Conservation also involves strict monitoring of the progress or decline in the number of tigers over a certain period of time to ensure the effectiveness of a particular conservative measure. It also involves keeping an eye on the threats to the habitat and tigers so that we work in the direction of eliminating these threats.
6. Project Tiger- A successful example:
Launched in April 1973, Project Tiger is a conservation programme launched by the Indian government in order to ensure tiger protection to prevent it from extinction. This programme aims at ensuring the maintenance of an adequate number of tigers in the Bengal region of India. It also focuses on protecting the flora and preserving the land, which is a natural heritage and showcases the diverse ecosystem that is present in the range of land occupied by tigers.
A number of other measures were taken, similar to Project Tiger or having similar goals as this project. These programmes, policies and safety measures act as a great step towards ensuring the safety of the wild animal, which is the largest among the Asian big cats and is a great example of a country's natural heritage. In India, tigers are of great cultural importance in addition to natural heritage. These extraordinary animal species are very important for the maintenance of a balanced ecosystem.