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The Tigers

Asia's Pride Of The Land

       The tiger is the largest of all the cats. Its fur is often coated with a majestic golden brown with black stripes running all over its body. Being a very fierce hunter by nature, it has been known to attack man. What is so special about tigers is that they cannot be found roaming in the wild anywhere except in Asia. Found anywhere within the confines of Asia from as far away in Siberia, India to Southeast Asia, in the jungles of Malaysia. Smaller varieties of the tiger can also be found in Java, Bali and Sumatra. They were once found even in the small perimeters of Singapore.

       The tiger’s scientific name is called leo tigris. The only way to distinguish them is to differentiate their sizes and the markings on their bodies. Also, their fur can also be slightly different in colour as well as shades. This really helps the tiger because the coat of illustrious fur renders it almost invisible as it blends well with dried grass or reeds.

       Tigers prefer to hunt in damp, thickly overgrown areas where they can hardly be seen. They usually stalk their prey in the night, in the meantime, they also prey on domestic animals reared by man. For example, they often as ruthless when attacking horses, sheep, goats and cattle. However, unless it is cornered or greatly provoked, the tiger avoids the elephant, and rarely attacks a large buffalo or bear. In battles with these animals the tiger is frequently defeated. Sensibly, it mostly prefers hunting in packs and choosing single targets instead of a whole herd. It carefully observes its prey, stalking it in the process and in a sudden rush, they leap forward in to seize their victim, which are preferably sick or injured.       

Sibside.jpg (16274 bytes) Unlike most cats, tigers are good swimmers. They cross rivers readily in search of prey. Occasionally, to escape a flood or some other pressing danger, they even climb trees, this despite the fact that the tiger at nine feet, is the largest member of the cat family.

       Tigers do not naturally prey on people, but a few do become man-eaters when they lose the ability to kill their natural prey. Broken teeth or broken claws may cause an old tiger to become a man-eater. Even young tigers may attack humans if gunshot wounds or embedded porcupine quills cause the lion to be wounded, therefore unable to hunt.

       There are many variety of tigers, including the Siberian tiger and the Bengal tiger. The ultra-rare white tiger is not a sub-species of the tiger, but merely a kind of Bengal tiger. The Bengal tigers and the Siberian tigers are the tigers most commonly found in zoos.

       The tiger is facing extinction due to greedy poachers lusting after the tiger skins, which can be sold for thousands dollars. Also, tiger’s teeth is also a popular souvenir which can be bought in countries such as Indonesia. Tiger hunting is also treated as a sport among the rich. However, there was an improvement in the number of surviving tigers in the wild. This century alone, the Siberian tiger survived 4 wars, 2 revolutions. Their natural habitat, the forest is also fast disappearing. Despite this, there are an estimated 430 left in the wild, up from a few dozen in the 1950s. Around 480 tigers are held captive.