Tigers in Nepal
One of the highlights of my trip to Nepal was the chance to get out into the forest and attempt to see a tiger in its natural environment. This opportunity came during my four day stay in a hotel right next to the Royal Chitwan National Park, one of a handful of places in Nepal where one can hope to see a wild tiger. Alas – it was not to be.
Despite spending quite a few hours on the back of an elephant searching the forest and grasslands in the national park, no tiger emerged. I am not sure whether I was relieved or disappointed. I guess I was somewhat disappointed we didn’t see such a magnificent animal in the wild, but at the same time I felt relief that we didn’t have a close encounter with one; I felt rather exposed and vulnerable, even on the back of an elephant!
While talking to one of the guides over dinner in the hotel, he admitted that he’d only ever seen two tigers in over twenty years of guiding, both on the same day! Only a few hundred visitors out of many hundreds of thousands to the park every year actually get to see one. The following information comes from the Wikipedia article:
Distribution: The Bengal Tiger or Royal Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is a subspecies of tiger primarily found in Bangladesh and India and also in Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and in southern Tibet.
Habitat:It is the most common tiger subspecies, and lives in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, subtropical and tropical rainforests, scrub forests, wet and dry deciduous forests and mangroves. Its fur is orange-brown with black stripes. It is the national animal of both Bangladesh and India.
Food: In the wild, Bengal Tigers are pure carnivores and hunt medium-sized and large-sized animals, such as wild boar, deer, gaurs and water buffalo. They also prey on smaller animals like hares, monkeys, langurs and peacocks. Bengal Tigers have also been known to prey on young Asian Elephants and rhino calves.
Status: Estimates in 2005 indicate an approximate worldwide population of 4,500 Bengal Tigers: The bulk of the population of about 3000 individuals live in India. There are about 200 tigers living in both Bangladesh and Nepal.
For more information check out Wikipedia here.
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