Tigers, the charismatic mega fauna, are the world’s largest cat species. They are usually territorial but often have to be social and have to keep a habitat in large areas in order to fulfill their prey requirements. This wonderful animal is found in the west of black sea to the south of Indian Ocean.
Tigers have been recognized in the mythology and folklore. They have found their place in ancient literature to the modern films. They are found on flags of countries to the jerseys of the sportsmen.
The evolution of tigers can be seen from snow leopard. They both diverged from the ‘panthera’ genus, 2 million years ago. The oldest remains of the tiger have been seen in China from a Longdan tiger. Despite, being primitive, one can say that the Longdan tiger was similar to the modern tiger. With evolution, the tigers grew in size. A research says that there are total 11 sub species of a tiger.
Of the original species of tiger, it is said that 3 have become extinct. One specie becomes extinct in every 20 years. It has been predicted that the wild tigers may be extinct by the next decade. Tigers increasingly compete with expanding human population and industry for land and food, and many are killed by poachers who sell their skins and body parts as ingredients for traditional Chinese medicines. If this keeps on continuing, tigers may extinct one day and that day may come soon.
A few of the endangered tigers live in zoo and if extinct, we might only hear of them in stories and watch them in films. Tigers will never be seen roaming on earth.
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Tigers have fascinated human kind since the very beginning. In a poll conducted by Animal Planet, tiger was chosen as the world’s most favorite animal. It won by 21% percent votes, more than the dog!
It holds a place in many mythologies. The Chinese have the tiger to represent one of their 12 zodiac signs. In Indian mythology, Lord Shiva sits on and wears tiger skin. In Mahabharata also, tigers are depicted fiercer than the lions. The weretiger replaces the werewolves and shape shifters in Asia.
They have been shown in the works of the great authors like Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle book, William Blake’s The Tyger and the man booker prize winner Yann Martel’s Life of Pi.
Tigers were seen on the seals of Indus valley civilization. They were the emblem of the Chola dynasty. The Bengal tiger is the national animal of India and Bengal.
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