Introduction to Tigers
The tiger (Panthera tigris) is the largest of the four big cats, and one that is very fascinating to people all over the world.
Tigers are fierce predators with a calculated intelligence that makes them one of the leaders out there in their natural environment. They have been able to successfully evolve from ancient tigers for almost 2 million years and they have keep continually adapting well to their surroundings.
Most people easily recognize the tiger due to the stripes found on their bodies. These patterns of white and black stripes create very interesting and unique patterns. They give the tiger a coloring that helps them to camouflage amongst the shadow of the long grass.
Tigers are extremely ferocious when it comes to hunting. However, they don’t always make the kill as you would expect them to. When they are able to sneak up on prey they only have a few seconds to pounce and to kill them by biting them in the neck area. They can take down animals much lager than themselves if they are healthy and they are good hunters.
Tigers tend to be loners so you won’t see them hunting in groups as you do lions. However, they have been known to share their prey with others which is a good indication that they do communicate with each other on different levels. Tigers are able to leap more than 30 feet which definitely gives them an advantage when it comes to finding and attacking their prey.
Tigers tend to go their own ways except when they wish to mate with each other. After mating they go their own way. The female will find a den for her cubs to be born in. This takes place approximately 16 weeks after conception. The cubs are blind at birth and she will feed them milk from her body for about 8 weeks before they venture outside of the den with her. She may have from 3 to 4 cubs at a time.
There are 6 out of 9 recent subspecies of tigers left on Earth. How long they will be able to survive though is in question. Right now all 6 of these remaining species are considered to be endangered.
Even with conservation efforts in place the future for them seems very uncertain. There are still many significant changes that must take place if they are going to be able to get their numbers up enough to have strong hopes of survival.
When we say that the numbers of tigers out there are very small, it isn’t an exaggeration. Most of the species have less than 1,000 of them remaining. That means it is hard to protect them and to encourage mating at a rate that the numbers will increase. Protection against inbreeding also needs to take place so that the genetic pool of those that are created isn’t compromised in the process.
It doesn’t help that tigers are often in the spotlight when negative things have occurred involving them. These scenarios include the attack in Las Vegas at the Siegfried and Roy Show, tigers that escape from zoos and attack people, and even though in the circus that have attacked trainers or people in the crowd. While these incidents are isolated, they tend to get a huge amount of attention in the media.
One of the problems with tiger decreasing population is that less than half of their offspring live to be 2 yeas of age, let alone mature enough to mate themselves. Those that do survive though are usually about to live about 15 years in the wild. In captivity they can live about 20 years on average. Some of the Siberian Tigers in captivity though are more than 25 years old so they seem to do better than the other species.