Bengal Tiger Historical In Asia.


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The ecology and conservation of  the Bengal  tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) was studied  in  the  Sundarbans
mangrove forest of Bangladesh for 18 months (September 2001-February 2003). The objective was to provide baseline information on: a) prey population structure and density, b) prey selection by tigers, c) relative habitat use by tigers, d) breeding and litter size of tigers, and e) tiger-human interactions, which is a key requirement for effective conservation of this globally-threatened animal. The main methods used in the field were line-transect sampling, scat analysis and kill study, sign surveying, and interviewing. The spotted deer (Cervus axis) was the dominant prey species, both in terms of individual density and biomass density. Based on the prey density, the tiger density was inferred at 4.3 tigers/100 km2 (excluding cubs) in the high density area. The spotted deer and rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) were identified as the most social prey species. Other prey species, such as wild boar (Sus scrofa), lesserBengal Tiger
adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus), red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) and ring lizard (Varanus salvator) were mainly solitary. The spotted deer was the most frequent prey in scats and kills (78%) and it forms 80.1% of  the prey biomass consumed by tigers. Other than the spotted deer, tigers also preyed on wild boar, rhesus macaque, lesser adjutant and some other smaller prey species. Soil and sungrass were found in scats (as non-food items). In general, the trend of prey selection appeared to follow prey size and abundance. Most spotted deer kills were adult animals.Bengal Tigers may have habitat preference for feeding, resting, defaecation and interaction, but not for movement, scratch-scent-urinal and ‘others’ (hunting, drinking, etc.). They were found to use soft-barked  trees for scratching more often than other types. Tigers may breed throughout the year, but the peak is in winter (October-March). For possible litter size, one was the commonest (60.7%), but the mean litter size  was 1.4, which is lower than in other tiger ranges. During this fieldwork, humans killed 7 tigers and tigers killed 41 humans. Based on interviewing local people it was found that most of tigers killed were middle-aged (68%) males (73%). Sixty-eight percent tigers were killed mainly in the villages around the Sundarbans. The main reasons for
tiger-killing by people were attacks on humans and cattle (76%), but  poaching was  also a  significant reason (19%). Most of the tiger attacks were on middle-aged (73%) fishermen and ‘Bawalis’ (woodcutters, leaf collectors, etc.), but the pattern mainly followed availability.Tiger-human conflict was highest in winter. The majority of the local people interviewed (53%) relied only on spiritual measures to protect themselves from the tiger. Forty-two percent of the interviewees believed on the medicinal use of tiger parts. Interestingly, despite all of the fatal encounters, 75% of the interviewees wanted the tiger to remain in the Sundarbans, so that the area could be protected from illegal loggers and poachers. A total of 2.8% of the animal protein consumed by local people surveyed came from tiger prey; prey protein was more expensive than non-prey protein. The main threats to tigers persisting in the Sundarbans are illegal human consumption of tiger prey combined with direct poaching of tigers. Over time this may have detrimental effects on the persistence of tigers in the Sundarbans, unless steps are taken to control these activities. The tiger is deeply rooted in the history, culture, beliefs and myths of the Indian sub-continent. One seal of the Indus valley civilisation, which dates back to 2,500 BC, shows the naked figure of a woman, upside down with her legs apart and two tigers standing to one side. It
implies the close connection of the and  tiger with  fertility birth and that man and  tiger  evolved  together from the same ‘earth mother. Later on, when the Aryans spread the Hindu religion, the tiger was absorbed into Hinduism and became a potent image as the tiger ridden by the great female deity, Durga, while one of the most important of the Gods, Siva, sits on a tiger skin. When Buddhism evolved from Hinduism and spread through Asia, the tiger came as spiritual and cultural images, which adorn splendid murals in temples in Bhutan, China, Thailand and Tibet. In the 18th century, the tiger was worshipped by the well-known Muslim ruler Tippu Sultan and his people in southern India. Tippu Sultan was known as ‘The Tiger of Mysore’. His banner carried the words ‘The Tiger is God’, and his throne was decorated to resemble a tiger. His soldiers had tiger-striped uniforms, and tiger images and stripes on their weapons.The Warli tribes of Central India believe the tiger to be a God the Vaghadeva. Many other forest communities worship the tiger as the lord of the jungle. In Madhya Pradesh, India, the tiger is worshipped as Bagh Deo. In Karnataka coast, India, the tiger is worshipped as Pili Bhoota; people perform the tiger dance or ‘Huli Vesha’ during Dasara celebrated by Hindus (Karanth 2001). In one northern part of Bengal the Tiger God was worshipped by the people of both Hindu and Muslim communities. Scroll paintings depicted the Muslim holy man astride a tiger, carrying a string of prayer beads and a staff and attacking all that was evil. Despite the fact that tigers kill many people in the Sundarbans, the tiger is respected by people and they seek protection with offerings to the folk deities before entering the forest. The tiger is widely used as a potent brand image for anything from beer to gasoline, breakfast cereals to varnish paint. Many military units across the world have tigers as their mascots. Bangladesh has the image of the tiger on banknotes and the national cricket team has a band of tiger stripes on the jersey. Because the tiger is a symbol of power, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand have been dubbed ‘Asian tigers’ because of their rapid economic advance. Source: Animal Discovery Chanel
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