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Features, Life And Habitat Of Bengal Tiger

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We live in the 21st century and yes, we have moved past a lot of barriers like caste, creed, colonialism and many others but still, we have a long way to go before we fully act like we live in the 21st century. What we often forget is that the Earth belongs not only to the humans but also to the animals who are subjected to cruelty and are not at all treated with the fairness they deserve. In this essay, I will discuss how the Bengal tigers came extremely close to the verge of extinction due to the human profanity.

The Bengal tiger (Pantheratigristigris)is native to Indian subcontinent. Characterised by yellow to orange and black to brown strips, these big cats can weigh upto 325 kg which ranks them among the biggest wild cats alive today. Threatened by poaching, loss and fragmentation of habitat, these creatures are endangered with just over 2,500 individuals in 2011. To put this into perspective as early as 1900, there were over 100,000 tigers used to roam all over Asia, by the turn of century, 95 percent of their population has disappeared from the wild.

Hence, the situation is bleak and saddening, the way tiger numbers are declining the species may not survive in the wild in the coming next century. The question here arises what is leading them to extinction. Is that us? The prime reason for such a steep decline comes out to be loss of habitat. The study (Bioscience, 2006) shows that in the past decade, the estimated area known to be occupied by the tigers has declined by 41 percent( p.508). Such a wide range contraction in such a relatively short time signals a significant collapse that must be arrested, and efforts towards range recovery-leading ultimately to sustainable tiger population must be initiated. The tigers are restricted to wildlife sanctuaries and national parks such as Ranthambore National Park,Jim Corbett National Park and Manas National Park. The only natural habitat for Bengal tigers that exists today is dry subtropical rainforest of Sunderbans on the delta of river Brahmaputra. Despite of weighty regional and international support, shrinking population of these iconic creatures come as a shock to the world. According to Christie from 1998 to 2003 NGO’s (Non Governmental Organisations), spent over US $31 million for the protection of these carnivores.

The habitation loss is mainly due to Human interference. Agriculture is the supreme reason for wiping out natural environment. Harvesting natural resources for industrial production and urbanization are among the key reasons. The wood logging, trawling and urban sprawl leads to disturbance in food chain which ultimately affects the topmost animal which in this case are tigers. This similar effect was observed in the case of Monarch Butterflies where loss of habitat leads them to the edge of extinction.

One more reason for the recent meteoric decline is that Asian countries growing affluence has allowed more consumers to buy products made of tiger parts. In 1993, China banned local trade in tiger product, which prompt most law abiding practitioners of traditional Chinese medicines worldwide to give up the use of tiger products. Nevertheless, tiger-bone wines and other health tonics containing tiger body parts remain in-demand among certain segments to the public at large. Besides strict laws and trade bans, these medicines are still coveted by ample users in China, South Korea, Vietnam, Japan and in many other parts of South Asia. Even United States pose a great threat to wild tigers where tiger skin is at a great demand in black market. In Tibet, members of the emerging classes have begun to adorn traditional robes with the skins of tigers, leopards and otters- thus increasing to demand for these products. Meanwhile, national law enforcement efforts are insufficient, and cross-border smuggling continues nearly unabated in the absence of international enforcement operations.Several nations have laws to protect tigers from poachers but unfortunately the lack of resources for enforcement and the shortfall of functioning antipoaching information network results in inadequate patrolling, and have hampered protection efforts.Poachers and their customers are rarely convicted to their crimes and when they are, their sentences are unlikely to deter future poaching and smuggling. They either serve little or no jail, and pay very low fines.

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Apart from habitat loss, fragmentation is another cause for the continuous decline. The case study reveals that majority of the remaining habitat are too small, isolated or degraded to support viable populations of tigers and their prey. Due to rapid development in the last decade, once rich rainforests are now palm tree fields. In east India, coal mining industry have eradicated the forest land.

Despite the overall trend, there are several successful moves also. The TAL, which spans the base of the Himlayan foothills in northwestern India and southern Nepal, here the conservationists in both the public and private sector are working together to restore, reconnect, and manage wildlife corridors to link 12 important wildlife reserves and national parks that harbour tigers across 49,000 km2.The goal of this project is to manage tigers as a metapopulation in which dispersal between core refuges can help maintain genetic, demographic, and ecological integrity. The financial aid from governments and non-governmental sources has benefited park management, anti-poaching efforts, monitoring research and habitat restoration. The long-term impacts of these efforts for tigers , while encouraging, have yet to be assessed, and in particular, the monitoring of tiger population needs to be systematically undertaken.

Another positive outcome is in the RFE, where conservation efforts have led to a recovery of tigers. A study led by Miquelle et al. in 1999 found that after World War II, there has been drastically increase in tiger population from 40 to more than 400 tigers. And this growth continues over the last decade despite equitably extensive poaching of tigers. These projects demonstrate that the human communities can coexist with some intact core tiger habitats, a situation once prevailed in the wildland interface of rural asia.

The trade in tiger parts often transcends national boundaries, as do the drivers of habitat loss. International links require international action and cooperation. In 1999 at Yaounde Summit, the head of state of six African countries pledged to dedicate at least 10 percent of each nation’s forest to a regional network of national and transborder reserves. Thus, to address these types of overarching threats, all countries need to stand together for the conservation of these animals.

While the Royal Bengal Tiger, as a wild species will most likely not go extinct within the next half-century, but its current trajectory is catastrophic. If this trend continues, the current range will shrink even further, and wild populations will disappear from many more places, or dwindle to the point of “ecological extinction”, in which their numbers are too few to play their role as top predator in the ecosystem. Leaving room for wide-ranging mammals such as tigers is vital and must become part of an effort to incorporate wildlife conservation into national and regional development agendas.

Much has changed since conservationists first made plans to save wild tigers. Then the dialogue was among a few dedicated scientists, conservationists, and national park officials on a country-by-country basis. Over the decades, we have realized that this problem is transnational and that science, economics, culture, public policy, and international dialogue all bear on preserving the tiger and its habitat. Conserving tigers, tiger habitat, and the natural capital they encompass must be part of the calculus that will continue to fuel Asia’s growing prosperity.

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Features, Life And Habitat Of Bengal Tiger. (2022, February 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 26, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/features-life-and-habitat-of-bengal-tiger/
“Features, Life And Habitat Of Bengal Tiger.” Edubirdie, 27 Feb. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/features-life-and-habitat-of-bengal-tiger/
Features, Life And Habitat Of Bengal Tiger. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/features-life-and-habitat-of-bengal-tiger/> [Accessed 26 Sept. 2022].
Features, Life And Habitat Of Bengal Tiger [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 27 [cited 2022 Sept 26]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/features-life-and-habitat-of-bengal-tiger/
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