To celebrate Global Tiger Day, we would like to tell you a little bit more about these special creatures, native to our country, which need our help in order to survive.
Did you know that tigers are the largest cat species? This means they need a lot of food to stay alive, so they are expert hunters. They hunt primarily in the early morning and evening, and can seek out prey in the dark, as their night vision is around six times better than a human’s. Tigers are well-equipped hunters with teeth strong enough to bite through bone, and can use both their teeth and paws to bring down prey. They are also excellent athletes, able to swim up to around 30 km in a day, leap distances of over six meters and jump up to five meters.
Think that tigers’ stripes are all the same? Think again. The stripes on a tiger’s fur are as unique as fingerprints on humans, and can also be found on their skin. They have special bristles on their tongues which help to comb their fur when they are grooming themselves. Tigers also have a complex system of communication, using their roar to convey messages to other tigers and to attract mates. As well as this, they are able to imitate the call of other animals to lure prey.
There are six sub-species of tiger in existence around the world: Bengal, Siberian, Indochinese, South Chinese, Sumatran and Malayan. Several other sub-species have already become extinct due to hunting, which shows how vulnerable these creatures are despite being powerful apex predators in the natural world. Tigers live in different habitats including tropical rainforests, evergreen forests, mangrove swamps, grasslands and savannahs, with one of the largest populations living in a mangrove forest on the border between India and Bangladesh.
The Bengal tiger is native to Nepal, and the majority of our country’s tigers live in Chitwan National Park. Although the Bengal tiger is still very much an endangered species, the number of tigers in Nepal has been rising, with a survey carried out in 2013 reporting a 63% increase in population. It is estimated that there are around 198 tigers living in Nepal today. Despite this increase in population, tigers in Nepal continue to be under threat from poaching and illegal trade, and loss of habitat due to deforestation and climate change. The government of Nepal aims to double the number of tigers by 2022, as agreed in The Tiger Summit of 2010; we hope that we can work together as a country to reach this aim.
So what can we do to help to protect these incredible creatures? To start with, we can work towards reducing our impact on the environment and helping to conserve the tigers’ natural habitat. By using more renewable energy sources and less firewood, we can help to reduce deforestation and decrease the impact of global warming. We can put an end to poaching by boycotting all illegal tiger products, and we can help to share this knowledge about the importance of protecting tigers from the threat of extinction.
We hope you will join us in taking care of our environment and the world which we share with these beautiful creatures.