It is said that the health of a forest habitat is reflected by its tiger population! A healthy tiger population suggests a vibrant eco system, for the tiger is a vital link in the food chain. The deer, monkey and wildlife on which it preys, need grasses, bushes, shrubs and tress for their survival, and this fauna in turn cohabitates millions of smaller life forms such as butterflies, termites, bees, mosses, etc.
The Royal Bengal Tiger is a super predator and important member of the carnivores that once roamed and dominated all over South East Asia. It is one of the stealthiest hunters that is known for its intelligent and powerful attacks. An average Royal Bengal Tiger is about 90 cm tall, and weighs between 130-180 kg. Its life expectancy is about 15-20 years and the females give birth to 3-4 cubs after a pregnancy of about three and a half months.
Tigers lead solitary lives, and the courtship period, and association between mother and cub is their only interaction and association. Tigers are entirely different in their hunting habits from lions, and hence they are mutually exclusive in their distribution. Tigers rest during the day in the shade, and begin to hunt for food at dusk. They have keen eyesights and a sharp hearing that helps them stalk their prey. Tiger killings are split second affairs where the prey hardly has any chance of survival. Its formidable and retractile claws play a significant role in capturing and holding on to its prey.
Tigresses are devoted mothers who are very protective of their cubs. They look after their young till they are about two and a half years old. Some of the places where tigers can be best observed in their natural habitats are the Kanha and Bandhavgarh National Parks, Bandipur, Ranthambore, Manas, Kaziranga, and Nagarhole.