Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sundarbans, Tigers and People

Sundarbans is the worlds largest mangrove forest which stretches across West Bengal ( India ) & Bangladesh. It is also the home to around (450 - 500) Bengal tigers which is the highest concentration in the world. It was taken over by the East Indian Company and later declared a reserve forest by 1875. Now, Its under the control of the Indian Forest Department. The mangrove forest is full of water channels, creeks, rivers through which water navigation went on.

The tigers in Sundarbans are used to getting wet often due to the variation of tidal water levels. Most of the time, the tigers drink the salt sea water when there is scarcity of fresh water streams and rainfall. Researchers also raise a conspiracy saying that the saline nature of the water the tigers drink make them more aggressive. The scarcity of natural prey adds to this.

This made the tigers enter the surrounding villages and prey on the cattle. Its really hard to believe that the number of people killed by these tigers range from (50 - 150) / year. Most of the attacks happen when local villagers venture deep into the mangroves to collect honey.

Not just on land, these tigers have been reported to attack from deep waters. A tiger which sees a boat passing by jumps into the water, swims towards the boat, uses its hind legs to leaps on the boat and unleashes its powerful claws and fearless jaws and attacks. It all happens within minutes.

Villagers have been given face masks to wear it behind their head making the tiger loose interest assuming that it has been already spotted.

" I don't know if to hate the tiger to hunt innocent poor villagers, their lively hood, children (or) to be shell shocked by its supremacy."


Panthera Tigris

Tiger Specification ( Characteristics )

1. Scientific Name : Panthera tigris

2. Total Length : 4 meters ( 13 feet )

3. Weight : 300 Kg ( 660 pounds )

4. Habitat : siberian taiga, Open Grass landa, tropical mangrove swamps.

5. Life Span : 10 to 15 years out in the wild and 16 to 20 years in captivity.

6. Sexual Maturity : Female ( 3 -4 years ); Male ( 4-5 years )

7. Gestation : (93 - 111 Days )

8. Diet : Deer ( sambar, chital, sika deer, swamp deer, and hog deer ), Wild Boar, antelope, buffalo, domestic livestock, peafowl, monkeys.

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