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Bengal Tiger
Status Endangered
Diet Carnivore
Habitat
Fame
To unlock the Bengal tiger in challenge or campaign games, you must earn a 3-1/2-star zoo fame rating for your zoo.

Description

  • The tiger is the largest member of the cat family and the only cat with striped fur. Perfectly designed predators, tigers possess beauty, grace, and awesome power. Their presence in the wild, revealed by a throaty roar or a track on a dusty trail, electrifies the forest and sends shivers down the spines of all who share its space. Humans admire tigers as much as they fear them and the animals figure prominently in Asian myths, religions, arts, and imagination. Tigers were once found throughout the forested regions of tropical and temperate Asia. Excessive hunting and destruction of tiger habitat have now narrowed the tiger's range to a few isolated patches throughout Asia. Many people have organized local and international conservation organizations to prevent tigers from becoming extinct.
  • Among the 36 cat species, tigers are most closely related to lions, leopards, and jaguars. These cats evolved from a common ancestor that was probably similar to modern leopards or jaguars and lived more than 5 million years ago. The earliest fossils clearly identified as those of tigers are about 2 million years old. These fossils were found in central Asia, eastern and northern China, Siberia, Japan, Sumatra, and Java. Based on fossils dating from 300,000 to 10,000 years ago, some scientists think that tigers may have ranged into present-day Alaska via the Bering land bridge that once joined Alaska and Siberia during the last glaciation in the Pleistocene Epoch. Other scientists believe that the big cat fossils found in Alaska all belong to lions.               
  • Scientists use a variety of methods to study the behavior of tigers and track their movements. Radio tracking was first used to track tigers in Nepal in 1973. In this method, a collar with an attached radio transmitter is placed around the neck of a tiger. Scientists monitor the radio transmissions as the tiger travels, tracking the tiger's whereabouts to learn about its range, life history, and behaviors. More recently, scientists have set up camera traps that are triggered by an infrared beam. When a tiger crosses the infrared beam, the camera snaps a shot of the tiger, recording the date and time the photograph was taken. The tiger's unique stripes help identify the animal, and when the same animal triggers other camera traps, the photo archives enable scientists to gather information about the tiger's movements. This method helps scientists estimate tiger numbers in the wild.

Fun Facts

  • The Bengal tiger is the world's largest cat, weighing up to 400 to 570 lb (180 to 258 kg).
  • A tiger's roar can be heard up to 2 mi (3 km) away.
  • With the exception of white tigers, which have blue eyes, all tigers have yellow eyes.
  • Studies suggest that tigers have very good hearing. They can turn their ears toward the source of a sound, enhancing their hearing sensitivity.
  • Five soft pads on the bottom of tiger paws produce a distinctive paw print, or pug mark. The padding on the bottom of the paw enables tigers to move silently.
  • Only half of all tiger cubs in the wild survive to the age where they become independent of their mother.
  • Tigers hunt alone, using the protective covering of trees or tall grass to slowly sneak up on prey.
  • On average, a tiger in the wild must kill about once every eight days.

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