The Canopy Project
The Royal Bengal Tiger
February 28, 2023
With a beautiful orange coat covered in unique dark stripes, the Bengal Tiger is a recognizable species which resides in temperate and tropical regions of multiple Asian countries such as India, China, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal. India’s national animal, the Royal Bengal Tiger, is an endangered species facing significant threats of poaching and habitat destruction.
Over the last 30 years, the world’s tiger population has seen a 50 percent decline, with less than 4,000 living in the world. However, since 2015, there has been a 40% increase compared to prior years due to the improvements in monitoring and counting. One of the reasons it is easier to take the tiger census compared to other animals is because each Bengal tiger has its own distinct striped pattern: no two Bengal tigers are alike.
These beautiful, powerful cats are considered the world’s second largest tiger, potentially growing to be 10.5 feet long and weighing 650 pounds. Referred to as the Indian tiger, they are a carnivorous species hunting medium to large animals including boars, badgers, water buffaloes, goats, deer, antelope, small elephant calves and rhino calves. Known to be strategic and solitary hunters, Bengal tigers feed at night and can eat up to 40 kg, or 88 pounds, of meat in one go.
Due to poaching and habitat fragmentation as a result of human activities and climate change, the magnificent Royal Tiger’s existence is threatened. Bengal tigers are illegally hunted for their skin and bones that are used in traditional Asian medicine. The Bengal Tiger is considered one of the most dangerous animals of India and is frequently sought after as a trophy for game hunters. The main home of the tiger is the Sundarabans; a resource-abundant, diverse mangrove forest in Bangladesh. Due to the rise in sea levels, coastal erosion, and human encroachment, the Sundarabans are shrinking, which in turn, decreases the tiger’s prey populations.
EARTHDAY.ORG’s reforestation and conservation campaign, The Canopy Project, is working in the Sundarbans to plant and restore mangrove species in order to rehabilitate the environment for the local people and the Bengal Tiger who rely on the forest. EARTHDAY.ORG and its partners are not only planting thousands of mangrove saplings, but further spreading awareness about the dangers and long-term environmental effects of illegal poaching and timber farming.
The combined threats of poaching, urbanization, habitat loss, and global warming has caused India to lose 97% of its Bengal Tiger population in the last century. National parks, preserves, and sanctuaries have been able to stabilize the tiger population, but the concerns still loom. Protecting the cultural symbol of India, the grand Bengal Tiger, can start with preserving its habitat, the mangrove forests. With a donation to The Canopy Project, you can be a part of this movement.