Bengal tiger

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The Bengal Tiger or Royal Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is a subspecies of tiger found through the rainforests and grasslands of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, China, India and Nepal. Its fur is orange-brown with black stripes. Male Bengal Tigers are up to 10 feet (3 meters) long. Females are up to 9 feet (2.7 meters) long. They hunt deer, pigs, antelopes, cattle, young elephants, and buffalo. They are also known to prey on peacocks and can climb trees in order to hunt primates. Tigers are, like most big cats, solitary animals. They also prefer to hunt mostly by night. During the day, the cover of the tall "elephant grass" gives the feline excellent camouflage.

Habitat loss and poaching are important threats to species survival. Poachers kill tigers not only for their pelts, but also for components to make various traditional East Asian medicines. The Bengal Tiger is now strictly protected, and is the national animal of both Bangladesh and India. After the resounding success of Project Tiger, the population of wild tigers has increased drastically. The tiger population of India now numbers about 3,500, down from 5,000 in the 1970s. The Sundarbans mangrove forest on the Bangladesh-India border includes 270 tigers on the Indian side and 750 tigers on the Bangladeshi side.

These tigers are the most feared of all tiger species, since they have been known to resort to hunting humans for food. In fact, the record for the most people killed by any large animal goes to one of these tigers, called the Champawat Tiger, who alone devoured 436 people in the Kumaon area of India during the 19th century. Jim Corbett gave the account of how he shot the feline in his book Maneaters of Kumaon.

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