The Royal Bengal Tiger is our national animal.It is mainly found in Bangladesh and India. It lives in a variety of habitats including grasslands, subtropical and tropical rainforests and mangroves. In Bangladesh and India its main habitat is the Sunderbans Mangrove Forest. Royal Bengal Tiger is also the national animal of India.
The Sundarbans is the largest mangrove forest in the world. It lies at the mouth of the Ganges and is spread across areas of Bangladesh and West Bengal of India, forming the seaward fringe of the delta. In Bengali “Sundarban” means “beautiful jungle” or “beautiful forest” but the name may have been originated from the Sundari trees that are found in Sundarbans in plenty. Two-thirds of the forest (62%) is in the southwest corner of Bangladesh while the rest is in the West Bengal. To the south of Sundarbans is the Bay of Bengal. Male Tigers sometimes measure more than 3 meters with their tail. Their weight is around 200-220 kilograms. Females are an average of 100-130 kg in weight. Average lifespan of the tigers is around 10-12 years.
In the wild, Bengal Tigers are pure carnivores and hunt medium-sized and large-sized animals, such as wild boar, deer, gaurs and water buffalo. They also prey on smaller animals like hares, monkeys, langurs and peacocks. But the Bengal Tiger is well known for its liking of chital (sambar deer) as its favorite food. The numbers of royal Bengal Tigers have decreased during the last decades because of illegal hunting of these mammals for their skins and certain bones which are thought to have healing powers in traditional Chinese herbal medicine and because of habitat destruction by human population. The actual number of tigers in the Sundarbans part of Bangladesh is unclear but thought to vary between 300 to 400. U.N reports state that on an average 40 tigers are getting killed each year which is extremely high and if not to be stopped now will bring this wonderful animal on the verge of extinction very soon. Sadly, most probably they will survive only in cartoons and animations Surprisingly in the Indian side, although it is only one-third of Sundarbans, the numbers of Bengal Tigers are two to three times higher than Bangladesh part. A large portion of the jungle has been deforested by local people for agricultural purposes. Areas which were deep and inaccessible forest even a decade ago are now turned into human settlements and crop lands The people living in sundarbans are mainly ‘bawalis’ who collect golpata, mouals who collect honey and woodcutters. They make dwellings about 3 to 5 meters high for fear of wild animals including tigers and snakes. Every year a number of people fall pray to tigers, specially by aged tigers who no longer are physically fit enough to run after young prey like sambar deers.
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