Royal Bengal Tiger

News Excerpt:

After Neora Valley, a fresh image of the Royal Bengal Tiger was recently captured in Buxa forest.

About the news:

  • West Bengal forest officials captured an image of a tiger at Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR).
  • The image of a Royal Bengal Tiger was obtained using a ‘camera trap’ at the reserve.
  • In October a camera trap image of a Royal Bengal Tiger was captured at the high altitude of Neora Valley National Park in Kalimpong Hills.
    • It is one of the few images of the species found in such heights.

About Royal Bengal Tiger:

  • Royal Bengal Tigers are primarily found in India but can also be found in small numbers in Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and China.
  • Panthera Tigris is the binomial name for the tiger. Male tigers weigh 200-300 kg, whereas female tigers weigh 100-181 kg. Male tigers stand 8-10 feet tall, while females are 8-9 feet tall.
  • They are most commonly found in mangroves, marshes, and grasslands. The mangroves have made them more prone to swimming, and they can even hunt in the water.
    • It is the only tiger breed in the world that lives in mangrove forests and is commonly found in the Sundarbans mangroves in West Bengal.
  • These creatures have six times the night vision of humans and five times the hearing.
  • The Royal Bengal tigress delivers a litter of 4-5 cubs; their gestation period is 3 months.
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) status - Endangered.

Protection Initiatives for Tigers in India:

  • In 1973, Project Tiger was introduced by the Indian Government for the first time to protect the dwindling population of tigers.
    • India is home to more than 70% of the world’s tiger population.
  • There are a total of 54 tiger reserves in India.
  • International Tiger Day is celebrated each year on July 29 to turn the spotlight on the conservation of tigers worldwide.
  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has been constituted under section 38 L (1) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR):

  • It is a 760-square-kilometre forest located inside the Buxa National Park in West Bengal, India, in the Buxa Hills of the southern hilly area of Bhutan.
    • It is situated in the Alipurduar Sub-division of Jalpaiguri District, West Bengal.
  • Animals found in the park include the tiger, civet, elephant, gaur (Indian bison), Indian boar and red jungle fowl.
  • The reserve's forests can be broadly classified as the “Moist Tropical Forest”.
    • This forest ranges from plains up to an elevation of 1,750 m. in the hills.
  • The reserve has corridor connectivity across the border with the forests of Bhutan in the north, on the east, it has linkages with the Kochugaon forests and Manas Tiger Reserve, and on the west, it has the Jaldapara National Park.

Map showing locations of Tiger Reserves in India:

Neora Valley National Park (NVNP):

  • The Neora Valley National Park (NVNP) covers a total area of 88 km². It is located in the Eastern Himalayas, a global 'biodiversity hotspot'.
    • The altitude varies from 183m to 3200m.
    • It was notified as a National Park based on the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 provisions in 1992.
  • It is contiguous with Sikkim and Bhutan at its northern and north-eastern boundaries, respectively and links the Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary in Sikkim and the Toorsa Strict Reserve of Bhutan.
    • It is also an integral part of the Kanchenjunga Landscape.
  • The southern boundaries of the park adjoin the forests of the Jalpaiguri district, which are connected to the Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary and the Gorumara National Park.
  • The park's highest point is Rachela Pass, and the forest has a unique topography that includes hills that rise abruptly.
  • Fauna:
    • The national park is home to the crimson-breasted woodpecker, Darjeeling woodpecker, Hodgson’s hawk cuckoo, mountain hawk-eagle, black-faced warbler, fire-tailed sunbird, king cobra, green pit viper, civets, sloth bear, wild boar, leopard cat, barking deer and many more animals and birds.
    • It is one of the best places to spot the red panda in its natural habitat.
  • Flora:
    • Four habitat types are recognised, viz., (i) Subtropical Mixed Broadleaf Forest, (ii) Lower Temperate Evergreen Forest, (iii) Upper Temperate Mixed Broadleaf Forest and (iv) Rhododendron Forest.
    • The vegetation includes Dry Mixed Forest, Wet Mixed Forest, Lauraceous Forest, Bak-Oak Forest, High-level Oak Forest, Coniferous Forest, Himalayan Moist Temperate Forest and Rhododendron forest.
    • It is home to several endemic orchids.
  • It consists of the characteristics of all three sub-regions, namely the Himalayan Montane System, the Indian Peninsular Sub-region and the Malayan sub-region.
    • With luxurious growth that even sunlight finds challenging to touch the ground, most of the park is inaccessible.

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