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Tiger

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Tiger
Temporal range: Early Pleistocene – Present
Walking tiger female.jpg
A Bengal tigress in Kanha Tiger Reserve, India
CITES Appendix I (CITES)[1]
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Felidae
Subfamily: Pantherinae
Genus: Panthera
Species:
P. tigris
Binomial name
Panthera tigris
(Linnaeus, 1758)[2]
Subspecies
P. t. tigris
P. t. sondaica
P. t. acutidens
P. t. soloensis
P. t. trinilensis
Tiger map.svg
Tiger's historical range in about 1850 (pale yellow), excluding that of the Caspian tiger, and in 2006 (in green).[3]
Synonyms[4]

The tiger (Panthera tigris) is the largest living cat species and a member of the genus Panthera. It is most recognisable for its dark vertical stripes on orange fur with a white underside. An apex predator, it primarily preys on ungulates, such as deer and wild boar. It is territorial and generally a solitary but social predator, requiring large contiguous areas of habitat to support its requirements for prey and rearing of its offspring. Tiger cubs stay with their mother for about two years and then become independent, leaving their mother's home range to establish their own.

The tiger was first scientifically described in 1758. It once ranged widely from the Eastern Anatolia Region in the west to the Amur River basin in the east, and in the south from the foothills of the Himalayas to Bali in the Sunda Islands. Since the early 20th century, tiger populations have lost at least 93% of their historic range and have been extirpated from Western and Central Asia, the islands of Java and Bali, and in large areas of Southeast and South Asia and China. What remains of the range where tigers still roam free is fragmented, stretching in spots from Siberian temperate forests to subtropical and tropical forests on the Indian subcontinent, Indochina and a single Indonesian island, Sumatra.

The tiger is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. As of 2015, the global wild tiger population was estimated to number between 3,062 and 3,948 mature individuals, with most populations living in small isolated pockets. India currently hosts the largest tiger population. Major reasons for population decline are habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation and poaching. Tigers are also victims of human–wildlife conflict, due to encroachment in countries with a high human population density.

The tiger is among the most recognisable and popular of the world's charismatic megafauna. It featured prominently in the ancient mythology and folklore of cultures throughout its historic range and continues to be depicted in modern films and literature, appearing on many flags, coats of arms and as mascots for sporting teams. The tiger is the national animal of India, Bangladesh, Malaysia and South Korea.

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Felidae

Felidae

Felidae is the family of mammals in the order Carnivora colloquially referred to as cats. A member of this family is also called a felid. The term "cat" refers both to felids in general and specifically to the domestic cat.

Apex predator

Apex predator

An apex predator, also known as a top predator, is a predator at the top of a food chain, without natural predators of its own.

Deer

Deer

Deer or true deer are hoofed ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. The two main groups of deer are the Cervinae, including the muntjac, the elk (wapiti), the red deer, and the fallow deer; and the Capreolinae, including the reindeer (caribou), white-tailed deer, the roe deer, and the moose. Male deer of all species, as well as female reindeer, grow and shed new antlers each year. In this they differ from permanently horned antelope, which are part of a different family (Bovidae) within the same order of even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla).

Eastern Anatolia Region

Eastern Anatolia Region

The Eastern Anatolia Region is a geographical region of Turkey. The most populous province in the region is Van Province. Other populous provinces are Malatya, Erzurum and Elazığ.

Bali

Bali

Bali is a province of Indonesia and the westernmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands. East of Java and west of Lombok, the province includes the island of Bali and a few smaller neighbouring islands, notably Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Ceningan to the southeast. The provincial capital, Denpasar, is the most populous city in the Lesser Sunda Islands and the second-largest, after Makassar, in Eastern Indonesia. The upland town of Ubud in Greater Denpasar is considered Bali's cultural centre. The province is Indonesia's main tourist destination, with a significant rise in tourism since the 1980s. Tourism-related business makes up 80% of its economy.

Central Asia

Central Asia

Central Asia, also known as Middle Asia, is a region of Asia that stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to western China and Mongolia in the east, and from Afghanistan and Iran in the south to Russia in the north. It includes the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, which are colloquially referred to as the "-stans" as the countries all have names ending with the Persian suffix "-stan", meaning "land of". The current geographical location of Central Asia was formerly part of the historic region of Turkistan, also known as Turan.

China

China

China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a population exceeding 1.4 billion, slightly ahead of India. China spans the equivalent of five time zones and borders fourteen countries by land, the most of any country in the world, tied with Russia. With an area of approximately 9.6 million square kilometres (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the world's third largest country by total land area. The country consists of 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four municipalities, and two special administrative regions. The national capital is Beijing, and the most populous city and financial center is Shanghai.

Endangered species

Endangered species

An endangered species is a species that is very likely to become extinct in the near future, either worldwide or in a particular political jurisdiction. Endangered species may be at risk due to factors such as habitat loss, poaching and invasive species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List lists the global conservation status of many species, and various other agencies assess the status of species within particular areas. Many nations have laws that protect conservation-reliant species which, for example, forbid hunting, restrict land development, or create protected areas. Some endangered species are the target of extensive conservation efforts such as captive breeding and habitat restoration.

Charismatic megafauna

Charismatic megafauna

Charismatic megafauna are animal species that are large—in the relevant category that they represent—with symbolic value or widespread popular appeal, and are often used by environmental activists to gain public support for environmentalist goals. Examples include tigers, lions, jaguars, hippopotamuses, elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, giant pandas, brown and polar bears, rhinoceroses, kangaroos, koalas, blue whales, humpback whales, orcas, walruses, elephant seals, bald, white-tailed and eastern imperial eagles, penguins, crocodiles and great white sharks among countless others. In this definition, animals such as penguins or bald eagles can be considered megafauna because they are among the largest animals within the local animal community of pertinence, and they disproportionately affect their environment. The vast majority of charismatic megafauna species are threatened and endangered by overhunting, poaching, the black market trade, climate change, habitat destruction, invasive species, and many more causes.

Flag

Flag

A flag is a piece of fabric with a distinctive design and colours. It is used as a symbol, a signalling device, or for decoration. The term flag is also used to refer to the graphic design employed, and flags have evolved into a general tool for rudimentary signalling and identification, especially in environments where communication is challenging. Many flags fall into groups of similar designs called flag families. The study of flags is known as "vexillology" from the Latin vexillumcode: lat promoted to code: la , meaning "flag" or "banner".

Coat of arms

Coat of arms

A coat of arms is a heraldic visual design on an escutcheon, surcoat, or tabard. The coat of arms on an escutcheon forms the central element of the full heraldic achievement, which in its whole consists of a shield, supporters, a crest, and a motto. A coat of arms is traditionally unique to the armiger. The term itself of 'coat of arms' describing in modern times just the heraldic design, originates from the description of the entire medieval chainmail 'surcoat' garment used in combat or preparation for the latter.

Bangladesh

Bangladesh

Bangladesh, officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in South Asia. It is the eighth-most populous country in the world, with a population exceeding 165 million people in an area of 148,460 square kilometres (57,320 sq mi). Bangladesh is among the most densely populated countries in the world, and shares land borders with India to the west, north, and east, and Myanmar to the southeast; to the south it has a coastline along the Bay of Bengal. It is narrowly separated from Bhutan and Nepal by the Siliguri Corridor; and from China by the Indian state of Sikkim in the north. Dhaka, the capital and largest city, is the nation's political, financial and cultural centre. Chittagong, the second-largest city, is the busiest port on the Bay of Bengal. The official language is Bengali, one of the easternmost branches of the Indo-European language family.

Etymology

The Middle English tigre and Old English tigras derive from Old French tigre, from Latin tigris. This was a borrowing of Classical Greek τίγρις 'tigris', a foreign borrowing of unknown origin meaning 'tiger' and the river Tigris.[5] The origin may have been the Persian word tigra ('pointed or sharp') and the Avestan word tigrhi ('arrow'), perhaps referring to the speed of the tiger's leap, although these words are not known to have any meanings associated with tigers.[6]

The generic name Panthera is derived from the Latin word panthera and the Ancient Greek word πάνθηρ ('panther').[7]

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Middle English

Middle English

Middle English is a form of the English language that was spoken after the Norman Conquest of 1066, until the late 15th century. The English language underwent distinct variations and developments following the Old English period. Scholarly opinion varies, but the Oxford English Dictionary specifies the period when Middle English was spoken as being from 1150 to 1500. This stage of the development of the English language roughly followed the High to the Late Middle Ages.

Old English

Old English

Old English, or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language, spoken in England and southern and eastern Scotland in the early Middle Ages. It was brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the mid-5th century, and the first Old English literary works date from the mid-7th century. After the Norman conquest of 1066, English was replaced, for a time, by Anglo-Norman as the language of the upper classes. This is regarded as marking the end of the Old English era, since during this period the English language was heavily influenced by Anglo-Norman, developing into a phase known now as Middle English in England and Early Scots in Scotland.

Latin

Latin

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area around present-day Rome, but through the power of the Roman Republic it became the dominant language in the Italian region and subsequently throughout the Roman Empire. Even after the fall of Western Rome, Latin remained the common language of international communication, science, scholarship and academia in Europe until well into the 18th century, when other regional vernaculars supplanted it in common academic and political usage, and it eventually became a dead language in the modern linguistic definition.

Tigris

Tigris

The Tigris is the easternmost of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of the Armenian Highlands through the Syrian and Arabian Deserts, and empties into the Persian Gulf.

Persian language

Persian language

Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is a Western Iranian language belonging to the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian subdivision of the Indo-European languages. Persian is a pluricentric language predominantly spoken and used officially within Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan in three mutually intelligible standard varieties, namely Iranian Persian, Dari Persian and Tajiki Persian. It is also spoken natively in the Tajik variety by a significant population within Uzbekistan, as well as within other regions with a Persianate history in the cultural sphere of Greater Iran. It is written officially within Iran and Afghanistan in the Persian alphabet, a derivation of the Arabic script, and within Tajikistan in the Tajik alphabet, a derivation of the Cyrillic script.

Ancient Greek

Ancient Greek

Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: Mycenaean Greek, Dark Ages, the Archaic period, and the Classical period.

Taxonomy

In 1758, Carl Linnaeus described the tiger in his work Systema Naturae and gave it the scientific name Felis tigris.[2] In 1929, the British taxonomist Reginald Innes Pocock subordinated the species under the genus Panthera using the scientific name Panthera tigris.[8][9]

Subspecies

Phylogenetic relationship of tiger populations based on Driscoll et al. (2009).[10]
Phylogenetic relationship of tiger populations based on Driscoll et al. (2009).[10]

Following Linnaeus's first descriptions of the species, several tiger specimens were described and proposed as subspecies.[11] The validity of several tiger subspecies was questioned in 1999. Most putative subspecies described in the 19th and 20th centuries were distinguished on basis of fur length and colouration, striping patterns and body size, hence characteristics that vary widely within populations. Morphologically, tigers from different regions vary little, and gene flow between populations in those regions is considered to have been possible during the Pleistocene. Therefore, it was proposed to recognize only two tiger subspecies as valid, namely P. t. tigris in mainland Asia, and P. t. sondaica in the Greater Sunda Islands.[12]

This two-subspecies proposal was reaffirmed in 2015 by a comprehensive analysis of morphological, ecological and molecular traits of all putative tiger subspecies using a combined approach. The authors proposed recognition of only two subspecies, namely P. t. tigris comprising the Bengal, Malayan, Indochinese, South Chinese, Siberian and Caspian tiger populations of continental Asia, and P. t. sondaica comprising the Javan, Bali and Sumatran tiger populations of the Sunda Islands. The continental nominate subspecies P. t. tigris constitutes two clades: a northern clade composed of the Siberian and Caspian tiger populations, and a southern clade composed of all other mainland populations.[13]

The authors of the 2015 study noted that this two-subspecies reclassification will affect tiger conservation management.[13] It would make captive breeding programs and future re-wilding of zoo-born tigers easier, as one tiger population could then be used to bolster the population of another population. However, there is the risk that the loss of subspecies uniqueness could negatively impact protection efforts for specific populations.[14]

In 2017, the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group revised felid taxonomy in accordance with the two-subspecies proposal of the comprehensive 2015 study, and recognized the tiger populations in continental Asia as P. t. tigris, and those in the Sunda Islands as P. t. sondaica.[15]

This two-subspecies view is still disputed by researchers, since the currently recognized nine subspecies can be distinguished genetically.[14] Results of a 2018 whole-genome sequencing of 32 specimens support six monophyletic tiger clades corresponding with the living subspecies and indicate that the most recent common ancestor lived about 110,000 years ago.[16]

The following tables are based on the classification of the species Panthera tigris provided in Mammal Species of the World,[11] and also reflect the classification used by the Cat Classification Task Force in 2017:[15]

Panthera tigris tigris (Linnaeus, 1758)[2]
Populations Description Image
Bengal tiger Linnaeus's scientific description of the tiger was based on descriptions by earlier naturalists such as Conrad Gessner and Ulisse Aldrovandi.[2] Bengal tiger skins in the collection of the Natural History Museum, London vary from light yellow to reddish yellow with black stripes.[9] Sher Khan (cropped).jpg
Caspian tiger formerly P. t. virgata (Illiger, 1815)[17] Illiger's description was not based on a particular specimen, but he only assumed that tigers in the Caspian area differ from those elsewhere.[17] It was later described as having narrow and closely set stripes.[18] The size of its skull did not differ significantly from that of the Bengal tiger.[12] According to genetic analysis, it was closely related to the Siberian tiger.[10] It had been recorded in the wild until the early 1970s and is considered extinct since the late 20th century.[19] Panthera tigris virgata.jpg
Siberian tiger formerly P. t. altaica (Temminck, 1844)[20] Temminck's description was based on an unspecified number of tiger skins with long hairs and dense coats that were traded between Korea and Japan. He assumed they originated in the Altai Mountains.[20] The Siberian tiger was later described as having pale coats with few dark brown stripes.[18] Amur Tiger 4d (5512743124).jpg
South China tiger formerly P. t. amoyensis (Hilzheimer, 1905)[21] Hilzheimer's description was based on five tiger skulls purchased in Hankou, southern China. These skulls differed in the size of teeth and jaw bones by a few cm from skulls of tigers from India.[21] Skins of tigers from southern China in the fur trade were said to be vivid orange in colour with rhombus-like stripes. Because of differences in the shape of skulls, it was long thought to constitute the most ancient variety.[22] It was noted to have a unique mtDNA haplotype.[15] 2012 Suedchinesischer Tiger.JPG
Indochinese tiger formerly P. t. corbetti Mazák, 1968[23] Mazák's description was based on 25 specimens in museum collections that were smaller than tigers from India and had smaller skulls.[23] Panthera tigris corbetti (Tierpark Berlin) 832-714-(118).jpg
Malayan tiger formerly P. t. jacksoni Luo et al., 2004[24] It was proposed as a distinct subspecies on the basis of mtDNA and micro-satellite sequences that differ from the Indochinese tiger.[24] In pelage colour or skull size, it does not differ significantly from Indochinese tigers.[25] There is no clear geographical barrier between tiger populations in northern Malaysia and southern Thailand.[1] Panthera tigris jacksoni at Parc des Félins 15.jpg
Panthera tigris sondaica (Temminck, 1844)[15]
Populations Description Image
Javan tiger Temminck based his description on an unspecified number of tiger skins with short and smooth hair.[20] Tigers from Java were small compared to tigers of the Asian mainland.[25] Panthera tigris sondaica 01 (cropped).jpg
Bali tiger formerly P. t. balica (Schwarz, 1912)[26] Schwarz based his description on a skin and a skull of an adult female tiger from Bali. He argued that its fur colour is brighter and its skull smaller than of tigers from Java.[26][27] A typical feature of Bali tiger skulls is the narrow occipital plane, which is analogous with the shape of skulls of Javan tigers.[28] Bali tiger zanveld.jpg
Sumatran tiger formerly P. t. sumatrae Pocock, 1929[29] Pocock described a dark skin of a tiger from Sumatra as the type specimen that had numerous and densely-set broad stripes. Its skull was a little larger than the skull of a Bali tiger.[29] It is the smallest of all living tigers.[22] The reasons for its small size compared to mainland tigers are unclear, but probably the result of insular dwarfism, especially competition for limited and small prey.[12] The population is thought to be of mainland Asian origin and to have been isolated about 6,000 to 12,000 years ago after a rise in sea-level created Sumatra.[25][30] Panthera tigris sumatrae (Sumatran Tiger) close-up.jpg

Evolution

Restoration of a Panthera zdanskyi skull, an extinct tiger relative whose fossil remains were found in northwest China
Restoration of a Panthera zdanskyi skull, an extinct tiger relative whose fossil remains were found in northwest China

The tiger's closest living relatives were previously thought to be the Panthera species lion, leopard and jaguar. Results of genetic analysis indicate that about 2.88 million years ago, the tiger and the snow leopard lineages diverged from the other Panthera species, and that both may be more closely related to each other than to the lion, leopard and jaguar.[31][32] The geographic origin of the Panthera is most likely northern Central Asia. The tiger–snow leopard lineage dispersed in Southeast Asia during the Miocene.[33]

Panthera zdanskyi is considered to be a sister taxon of the modern tiger. It lived at the beginning of the Pleistocene about two million years ago, its fossil remains were excavated in Gansu of northwestern China. It was smaller and more "primitive", but functionally and ecologically similar to the modern tiger. It is disputed as to whether it had the striping pattern. Northwestern China is thought to be the origin of the tiger lineage. Tigers grew in size, possibly in response to adaptive radiations of prey species like deer and bovids, which may have occurred in Southeast Asia during the Early Pleistocene.[34]

Panthera tigris trinilensis lived about 1.2 million years ago and is known from fossils excavated near Trinil in Java.[35] The Wanhsien, Ngandong, Trinil, and Japanese tigers became extinct in prehistoric times.[36] Tigers reached India and northern Asia in the late Pleistocene, reaching eastern Beringia, Japan, and Sakhalin. Some fossil skulls are morphologically distinct from lion skulls, which could indicate tiger presence in Alaska during the last glacial period, about 100,000 years ago.[37]

Fossil teeth and bones found in Borneo were attributed to the Bornean tiger and date to about 13,745 to 3,000 years ago. It may have accessed Borneo, when the sea level was low during a glaciation period, and may have survived until about 200 years ago.[38][39] In the Ille Cave on the island of Palawan, two articulated phalanx bones were found amidst an assemblage of other animal bones and stone tools. They were smaller than mainland tiger fossils, possibly due to insular dwarfism.[40] It has been speculated that the tiger parts were either imported from elsewhere, or that the tiger colonised Palawan from Borneo before the Holocene.[41][42] Fossil remains of tigers were also excavated in Sri Lanka, China, Japan and Sarawak dating to the Late Pliocene, Pleistocene and Early Holocene.[37][38]

Results of a phylogeographic study indicate that all living tigers had a common ancestor 108,000 to 72,000 years ago.[24] The potential tiger range during the late Pleistocene and Holocene was predicted applying ecological niche modelling based on more than 500 tiger locality records combined with bioclimatic data. The resulting model shows a contiguous tiger range at the Last Glacial Maximum, indicating gene flow between tiger populations in mainland Asia. The Caspian tiger population was likely connected to the Bengal tiger population through corridors below elevations of 4,000 m (13,000 ft) in the Hindu Kush. The tiger populations on the Sunda Islands and mainland Asia were possibly separated during interglacial periods.[43]

The tiger's full genome sequence was published in 2013. It was found to have similar repeat composition to other cat genomes and an appreciably conserved synteny.[44]

Hybrids

Captive tigers were bred with lions to create hybrids called liger and tigon. They share physical and behavioural qualities of both parent species. Breeding hybrids is now discouraged due to the emphasis on conservation.[45] The liger is a cross between a male lion and a tigress. Ligers are typically between 10 and 12 ft (3.0 and 3.7 m) in length, and weigh between 800 and 1,000 lb (360 and 450 kg) or more.[46] Because the lion sire passes on a growth-promoting gene, but the corresponding growth-inhibiting gene from the female tiger is absent, ligers grow far larger than either parent species.[47]

The less common tigon is a cross between a lioness and a male tiger.[45] Because the male tiger does not pass on a growth-promoting gene and the lioness passes on a growth inhibiting gene, tigons are around the same size as their parents.[47] Some females are fertile and have occasionally given birth to litigons when mated to a male Asiatic lion.[48]

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Carl Linnaeus

Carl Linnaeus

Carl Linnaeus, also known after his ennoblement in 1761 as Carl von Linné, was a Swedish botanist, zoologist, taxonomist, and physician who formalised binomial nomenclature, the modern system of naming organisms. He is known as the "father of modern taxonomy". Many of his writings were in Latin; his name is rendered in Latin as Carolus Linnæus and, after his 1761 ennoblement, as Carolus a Linné.

Systema Naturae

Systema Naturae

Systema Naturae is one of the major works of the Swedish botanist, zoologist and physician Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778) and introduced the Linnaean taxonomy. Although the system, now known as binomial nomenclature, was partially developed by the Bauhin brothers, Gaspard and Johann, Linnaeus was first to use it consistently throughout his book. The first edition was published in 1735. The full title of the 10th edition (1758), which was the most important one, was Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis or translated: "System of nature through the three kingdoms of nature, according to classes, orders, genera and species, with characters, differences, synonyms, places".

Reginald Innes Pocock

Reginald Innes Pocock

Reginald Innes Pocock F.R.S. was a British zoologist.

Panthera

Panthera

Panthera is a genus within the family Felidae that was named and described by Lorenz Oken in 1816 who placed all the spotted cats in this group. Reginald Innes Pocock revised the classification of this genus in 1916 as comprising the tiger, lion, jaguar, and leopard on the basis of common cranial features. Results of genetic analysis indicate that the snow leopard also belongs to the genus Panthera, a classification that was accepted by IUCN Red List assessors in 2008. The lion is the only species with anatomical structures that enable them to roar; the snow leopard cannot. The primary reason for this was formerly assumed to be the incomplete ossification of the hyoid bones studies show the ability to roar is due to other morphological features, especially of the larynx.

Subspecies

Subspecies

In biological classification, subspecies is a rank below species, used for populations that live in different areas and vary in size, shape, or other physical characteristics (morphology), but that can successfully interbreed. Not all species have subspecies, but for those that do there must be at least two. Subspecies is abbreviated subsp. or ssp. and the singular and plural forms are the same.

Valid name (zoology)

Valid name (zoology)

In zoological nomenclature, the valid name of a taxon is the sole correct scientific name. The valid name should be used for that taxon, instead of any other name that may currently be being used, or may previously have been used. A name is valid when, and only when, it is in harmony with all the relevant rules listed in the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN). A valid name is the correct zoological name of a taxon.

Morphology (biology)

Morphology (biology)

Morphology is a branch of biology dealing with the study of the form and structure of organisms and their specific structural features.

Gene flow

Gene flow

In population genetics, gene flow is the transfer of genetic material from one population to another. If the rate of gene flow is high enough, then two populations will have equivalent allele frequencies and therefore can be considered a single effective population. It has been shown that it takes only "one migrant per generation" to prevent populations from diverging due to drift. Populations can diverge due to selection even when they are exchanging alleles, if the selection pressure is strong enough. Gene flow is an important mechanism for transferring genetic diversity among populations. Migrants change the distribution of genetic diversity among populations, by modifying allele frequencies. High rates of gene flow can reduce the genetic differentiation between the two groups, increasing homogeneity. For this reason, gene flow has been thought to constrain speciation and prevent range expansion by combining the gene pools of the groups, thus preventing the development of differences in genetic variation that would have led to differentiation and adaptation. In some cases dispersal resulting in gene flow may also result in the addition of novel genetic variants under positive selection to the gene pool of a species or population

Pleistocene

Pleistocene

The Pleistocene is the geological epoch that lasted from about 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning the Earth's most recent period of repeated glaciations. Before a change was finally confirmed in 2009 by the International Union of Geological Sciences, the cutoff of the Pleistocene and the preceding Pliocene was regarded as being 1.806 million years Before Present (BP). Publications from earlier years may use either definition of the period. The end of the Pleistocene corresponds with the end of the last glacial period and also with the end of the Paleolithic age used in archaeology. The name is a combination of Ancient Greek πλεῖστος, pleīstos, 'most' and καινός, kainós, 'new'.

Sunda Island tiger

Sunda Island tiger

The Sunda Island tiger is a tiger subspecies native to the Sunda Islands in Indonesia. The name refers to the:Javan tiger — the extinct tiger population of Java Bali tiger, formerly P. t. balica (Schwarz, 1912) — the extinct tiger population of Bali Sumatran tiger, formerly P. t. sumatrae (Pocock, 1929) — the living tiger population of Sumatra

Greater Sunda Islands

Greater Sunda Islands

The Greater Sunda Islands are four tropical islands situated within Indonesian Archipelago, in the Pacific Ocean. The islands, Borneo, Java, Sulawesi and Sumatra, are internationally recognised for their ecological diversity and rich culture. Together with the Lesser Sunda Islands to their southeast, they comprise the archipelago known as the Sunda Islands.

Clade

Clade

A clade, also known as a monophyletic group or natural group, is a group of organisms that are monophyletic – that is, composed of a common ancestor and all its lineal descendants – on a phylogenetic tree. Rather than the English term, the equivalent Latin term cladus is often used in taxonomical literature.

Description

Siberian tiger in Aalborg Zoo, DenmarkBengal tiger skeleton on display at the Museum of Osteology
Siberian tiger in Aalborg Zoo, Denmark
Siberian tiger in Aalborg Zoo, DenmarkBengal tiger skeleton on display at the Museum of Osteology
Bengal tiger skeleton on display at the Museum of Osteology

The tiger has a muscular body with strong forelimbs, a large head and a tail that is about half the length of its body. Its pelage colouration varies between shades of orange with a white underside and distinctive vertical black stripes; the patterns of which are unique in each individual.[49][22] Stripes are likely advantageous for camouflage in vegetation such as long grass with strong vertical patterns of light and shade.[50][51] The tiger is one of only a few striped cat species; it is not known why spotted patterns and rosettes are the more common camouflage pattern among felids.[52] The orange colour may also aid in camouflage as the tiger's prey are dichromats, and thus may perceive the cat as green and blended in with the vegetation.[53]

A tiger's coat pattern is still visible when it is shaved. This is not due to skin pigmentation, but to the stubble and hair follicles embedded in the skin.[54] It has a mane-like heavy growth of fur around the neck and jaws and long whiskers, especially in males. The pupils are circular with yellow irises. The small, rounded ears have a prominent white spot on the back, surrounded by black.[22] These spots are thought to play an important role in intraspecific communication.[55]

The tiger's skull is similar to a lion's skull, with the frontal region usually less depressed or flattened, and a slightly longer postorbital region. The lion skull shows broader nasal openings. Due to the variation in skull sizes of the two species, the structure of the lower jaw is a reliable indicator for their identification.[18] The tiger has fairly stout teeth; its somewhat curved canines are the longest among living felids with a crown height of up to 90 mm (3.5 in).[22]

Size

There is notable sexual dimorphism between male and female tigers, with the latter being consistently smaller. The size difference between them is proportionally greater in the large tiger subspecies, with males weighing up to 1.7 times more than females. Males also have wider forepaw pads, enabling sex to be identified from tracks.[56] It has been hypothesised that body size of different tiger populations may be correlated with climate and be explained by thermoregulation and Bergmann's rule, or by distribution and size of available prey species.[22][57]

Generally, males vary in total length from 250 to 390 cm (98 to 154 in) and weigh between 90 and 300 kg (200 and 660 lb) with skull length ranging from 316 to 383 mm (12.4 to 15.1 in). Females vary in total length from 200 to 275 cm (79 to 108 in), weigh 65 to 167 kg (143 to 368 lb) with skull length ranging from 268 to 318 mm (10.6 to 12.5 in). In either sex, the tail represents about 0.6 to 1.1 m (2 ft 0 in to 3 ft 7 in) of the total length. The Bengal and Siberian tigers are amongst the tallest cats in shoulder height. They are also ranked among the biggest cats that have ever existed reaching weights of more than 300 kg (660 lb).[22] The tigers of the Sunda islands are smaller and less heavy than tigers in mainland Asia, rarely exceeding 142 kg (313 lb) in weight.[25]

Colour variations

White tigers in Haifa Zoo
White tigers in Haifa Zoo

There are three other colour variants – white, golden and nearly stripeless snow white – that are now virtually non-existent in the wild due to the reduction of wild tiger populations, but continue in captive populations. The white tiger has white fur and sepia-brown stripes. The golden tiger has a pale golden pelage with a blond tone and reddish-brown stripes. The snow white tiger is a morph with extremely faint stripes and a pale reddish-brown ringed tail. Both snow white and golden tigers are homozygous for CORIN gene mutations.[58]

The white tiger lacks pheomelanin (which creates the orange colour), and has dark sepia-brown stripes and blue eyes. This altered pigmentation is caused by a mutant gene that is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait, which is determined by a white locus. It is not an albino, as the dark pigments are scarcely affected.[59][58] The mutation changes a single amino acid in the transporter protein SLC45A2. Both parents need to have the allele for whiteness to have white cubs.[60] Between the early and mid 20th century, white tigers were recorded and shot in the Indian states of Odisha, Bihar, Assam and in the area of Rewa, Madhya Pradesh. The local maharaja started breeding tigers in the early 1950s and kept a white male tiger together with its normal-coloured daughter; they had white cubs.[61] To preserve this recessive trait, only a few white individuals were used in captive breeding, which led to a high degree of inbreeding. Inbreeding depression is the main reason for many health problems of captive white tigers, including strabismus, stillbirth, deformities and premature death.[62] Other physical defects include cleft palate and scoliosis.[63]

The Tiger Species Survival Plan has condemned the breeding of white tigers, alleging they are of mixed ancestry and of unknown lineage. The genes responsible for white colouration are represented by 0.001% of the population. The disproportionate growth in numbers of white tigers points to inbreeding among homozygous recessive individuals. This would lead to inbreeding depression and loss of genetic variability.[64]

There are also records of pseudo-melanic or black tigers which have thick stripes that merge. In Simlipal National Park, 37% of the tiger population has this condition, which has been linked to isolation and inbreeding.[65]

Discover more about Description related topics

Aalborg Zoo

Aalborg Zoo

Aalborg Zoo is a zoo located near the center of Aalborg in Denmark. Every year, Aalborg Zoo is visited by around 375,000 guests. The zoo covers 8 hectares, and keeps more than 1,500 animals belonging to 126 species.

Museum of Osteology

Museum of Osteology

The Museum of Osteology, located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S., is a private museum devoted to the study of bones and skeletons (osteology). This museum displays over 450 skeletons of animal species from all over the world. With another 7,000 specimens as part of the collection, but not on display, this is the largest privately held collection of osteological specimens in the world. This museum is an entity of their parent company, Skulls Unlimited International, Inc.

Animal coloration

Animal coloration

Animal coloration is the general appearance of an animal resulting from the reflection or emission of light from its surfaces. Some animals are brightly coloured, while others are hard to see. In some species, such as the peafowl, the male has strong patterns, conspicuous colours and is iridescent, while the female is far less visible.

Camouflage

Camouflage

Camouflage is the use of any combination of materials, coloration, or illumination for concealment, either by making animals or objects hard to see, or by disguising them as something else. Examples include the leopard's spotted coat, the battledress of a modern soldier, and the leaf-mimic katydid's wings. A third approach, motion dazzle, confuses the observer with a conspicuous pattern, making the object visible but momentarily harder to locate, as well as making general aiming easier. The majority of camouflage methods aim for crypsis, often through a general resemblance to the background, high contrast disruptive coloration, eliminating shadow, and countershading. In the open ocean, where there is no background, the principal methods of camouflage are transparency, silvering, and countershading, while the ability to produce light is among other things used for counter-illumination on the undersides of cephalopods such as squid. Some animals, such as chameleons and octopuses, are capable of actively changing their skin pattern and colours, whether for camouflage or for signalling. It is possible that some plants use camouflage to evade being eaten by herbivores.

Hair follicle

Hair follicle

The hair follicle is an organ found in mammalian skin. It resides in the dermal layer of the skin and is made up of 20 different cell types, each with distinct functions. The hair follicle regulates hair growth via a complex interaction between hormones, neuropeptides, and immune cells. This complex interaction induces the hair follicle to produce different types of hair as seen on different parts of the body. For example, terminal hairs grow on the scalp and lanugo hairs are seen covering the bodies of fetuses in the uterus and in some newborn babies. The process of hair growth occurs in distinct sequential stages: anagen is the active growth phase, catagen is the regression of the hair follicle phase, telogen is the resting stage, exogen is the active shedding of hair phase and kenogen is the phase between the empty hair follicle and the growth of new hair.

Iris (anatomy)

Iris (anatomy)

In humans and most mammals and birds, the iris is a thin, annular structure in the eye, responsible for controlling the diameter and size of the pupil, and thus the amount of light reaching the retina. Eye color is defined by the iris. In optical terms, the pupil is the eye's aperture, while the iris is the diaphragm.

Nose

Nose

A nose is a protuberance in vertebrates that houses the nostrils, or nares, which receive and expel air for respiration alongside the mouth. Behind the nose are the olfactory mucosa and the sinuses. Behind the nasal cavity, air next passes through the pharynx, shared with the digestive system, and then into the rest of the respiratory system. In humans, the nose is located centrally on the face and serves as an alternative respiratory passage especially during suckling for infants. The protruding nose that completely separate from the mouth part is a characteristic found only in therian mammals. It has been theorized that this unique mammalian nose evolved from the anterior part of the upper jaw of the reptilian-like ancestors (synapsids).

Canine tooth

Canine tooth

In mammalian oral anatomy, the canine teeth, also called cuspids, dog teeth, or fangs, eye teeth, vampire teeth, or vampire fangs, are the relatively long, pointed teeth. They can appear more flattened however, causing them to resemble incisors and leading them to be called incisiform. They developed and are used primarily for firmly holding food in order to tear it apart, and occasionally as weapons. They are often the largest teeth in a mammal's mouth. Individuals of most species that develop them normally have four, two in the upper jaw and two in the lower, separated within each jaw by incisors; humans and dogs are examples. In most species, canines are the anterior-most teeth in the maxillary bone.

Crown (tooth)

Crown (tooth)

In dentistry, crown refers to the anatomical area of teeth, usually covered by enamel. The crown is usually visible in the mouth after developing below the gingiva and then erupting into place. If part of the tooth gets chipped or broken, a dentist can apply an artificial crown. Crowns are used most commonly to entirely cover a damaged tooth or cover an implant. Bridges are also used to cover a space if one or more teeth is missing. They are cemented to natural teeth or implants surrounding the space where the tooth once stood. There are various materials that can be used including a type of cement or stainless steel. The cement crowns look like regular teeth while the stainless steel crowns are silver or gold.

Hypothesis

Hypothesis

A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. For a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it. Scientists generally base scientific hypotheses on previous observations that cannot satisfactorily be explained with the available scientific theories. Even though the words "hypothesis" and "theory" are often used interchangeably, a scientific hypothesis is not the same as a scientific theory. A working hypothesis is a provisionally accepted hypothesis proposed for further research in a process beginning with an educated guess or thought.

Bergmann's rule

Bergmann's rule

Bergmann's rule is an ecogeographical rule that states that within a broadly distributed taxonomic clade, populations and species of larger size are found in colder environments, while populations and species of smaller size are found in warmer regions. Bergmann's rule only describes the overall size of the animals, but does not include body parts like Allen's rule does.

Polymorphism (biology)

Polymorphism (biology)

In biology, polymorphism is the occurrence of two or more clearly different morphs or forms, also referred to as alternative phenotypes, in the population of a species. To be classified as such, morphs must occupy the same habitat at the same time and belong to a panmictic population.

Distribution and habitat

Historical distribution of the tiger[10]
Historical distribution of the tiger[10]

The tiger historically ranged from eastern Turkey and Transcaucasia to the coast of the Sea of Japan, and from South Asia across Southeast Asia to the Indonesian islands of Sumatra, Java and Bali.[49] Since the end of the last glacial period, it was probably restricted by periods of deep snow lasting longer than six months.[66][67] Currently, it occurs in less than 6% of its historical range, as it has been extirpated from Southwest and Central Asia, large parts of Southeast and East Asia. It now mainly occurs in the Indian subcontinent, the Indochinese Peninsula, Sumatra and the Russian Far East. In China and Myanmar, breeding populations appear to rely on immigration from neighbouring countries while its status in the Korean Peninsula is unknown.[1][68]

The tiger is essentially associated with forest habitats.[38][69] Tiger populations thrive where populations of wild cervids, bovids and suids are stable.[70] Records in Central Asia indicate that it occurred foremost in Tugay riverine forests along the Atrek, Amu Darya, Syr Darya, Hari, Chu and Ili Rivers and their tributaries. In the Caucasus, it inhabited hilly and lowland forests.[18] Historical records in Iran are known only from the southern coast of the Caspian Sea and adjacent Alborz Mountains.[71] In the Amur-Ussuri region, it inhabits Korean pine and temperate broadleaf and mixed forests, where riparian forests provide food and water, and serve as dispersal corridors for both tiger and ungulates.[67][72] On the Indian subcontinent, it inhabits mainly tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests, moist evergreen forests, tropical dry forests and the swamp forests of the Sundarbans.[73] In the Eastern Himalayas, tigers were documented in temperate forest up to an elevation of 4,200 m (13,800 ft) in Bhutan and of 3,630 m (11,910 ft) in the Mishmi Hills.[74][75] In Myanmar, tigers are distributed across the country and among every province. The country is home to two tiger populations, Bengal and Indochinese tigers. In 1996, the composition of the two populations was 60% Bengal tigers and 40% Indochinese tigers. The natural ecological divide for these two populations is assumed to be the Irrawaddy River, but there is no scientific evidence for that hypothesis. DNA studies are needed to confirm it.[76] Today, the presence of tigers was confirmed in the Hukawng Valley, Htamanthi Wildlife Sanctuary, and in two small areas in the Tanintharyi Region. The Tenasserim Hills is an important area, but forests are harvested there.[77] In 2015, tigers were recorded by camera traps for the first time in the hill forests of Kayin State.[78] In Thailand, it lives in deciduous and evergreen forests.[79] In Laos, 14 tigers were documented in semi-evergreen and evergreen forest interspersed with grassland in Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area during surveys from 2013 to 2017.[80] In Sumatra, tiger populations range from lowland peat swamp forests to rugged montane forests.[81]

Discover more about Distribution and habitat related topics

Sea of Japan

Sea of Japan

The Sea of Japan (see below for other names) is the marginal sea between the Japanese archipelago, Sakhalin, the Korean Peninsula, and the mainland of the Russian Far East. The Japanese archipelago separates the sea from the Pacific Ocean. Like the Mediterranean Sea, it has almost no tides due to its nearly complete enclosure from the Pacific Ocean. This isolation also affects faunal diversity and salinity, both of which are lower than in the open ocean. The sea has no large islands, bays or capes. Its water balance is mostly determined by the inflow and outflow through the straits connecting it to the neighboring seas and the Pacific Ocean. Few rivers discharge into the sea and their total contribution to the water exchange is within 1%.

Sumatra

Sumatra

Sumatra is one of the Sunda Islands of western Indonesia. It is the largest island that is fully within Indonesian territory, as well as the sixth-largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 (182,812 mi.2), not including adjacent islands such as the Simeulue, Nias, Mentawai, Enggano, Riau Islands, Bangka Belitung and Krakatoa archipelago.

Java

Java

Java is one of the Greater Sunda Islands in Indonesia. It is bordered by the Indian Ocean to the south and the Java Sea to the north. With a population of 151.6 million people, Java is the world's most populous island, home to approximately 56% of the Indonesian population.

Bali

Bali

Bali is a province of Indonesia and the westernmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands. East of Java and west of Lombok, the province includes the island of Bali and a few smaller neighbouring islands, notably Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Ceningan to the southeast. The provincial capital, Denpasar, is the most populous city in the Lesser Sunda Islands and the second-largest, after Makassar, in Eastern Indonesia. The upland town of Ubud in Greater Denpasar is considered Bali's cultural centre. The province is Indonesia's main tourist destination, with a significant rise in tourism since the 1980s. Tourism-related business makes up 80% of its economy.

Indian subcontinent

Indian subcontinent

The Indian subcontinent is a physiographical region in Southern Asia. It is situated on the Indian Plate, projecting southwards into the Indian Ocean from the Himalayas. Geopolitically, it includes the countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The terms Indian subcontinent and South Asia are often used interchangeably to denote the region, although the geopolitical term of South Asia frequently includes Afghanistan, which may otherwise be classified as Central Asian.

Russian Far East

Russian Far East

The Russian Far East is a region in Northeast Asia. It is the easternmost part of Russia and the Asian continent; and is administered as part of the Far Eastern Federal District, which is located between Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean. The area's largest city is Khabarovsk, followed by Vladivostok. The region shares land borders with the countries of Mongolia, China, and North Korea to its south, as well as maritime boundaries with Japan to its southeast, and with the United States along the Bering Strait to its northeast.

Korean Peninsula

Korean Peninsula

The Korean Peninsula is a peninsula located in East Asia. It extends southwards for about 1,100 km (680 mi) from continental Asia into the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by the Sea of Japan to the east and the Yellow Sea to the west, the Korea Strait connecting the two bodies of water. The total area of the peninsula is 220,847 km2 (85,270 sq mi).

Tugay

Tugay

Tugay is a form of riparian forest or woodland associated with fluvial and floodplain areas in arid climates. These wetlands are subject to periodic inundation, and largely dependent on floods and groundwater rather than directly from rainfall. Tugay habitats occur in semi-arid and desert climates in central Asia. Because Tugay habitat is usually linear, following the courses of rivers in arid landscapes, Tugay communities often function as wildlife corridors. They have disappeared or become fragmented over much of their former range.

Atrek

Atrek

The Atrek, also known as the Attruck, Atrak, and Etrek, is a fast-moving river which begins in the mountains of north-eastern Iran, and flows 563 kilometres (350 mi) westward draining into the south-eastern corner of the Caspian Sea in Turkmenistan. Because of the high use of its waters for irrigation, it only flows into the Caspian when it is in flood stage.

Amu Darya

Amu Darya

The Amu Darya is a major river in Central Asia and Afghanistan. Rising in the Pamir Mountains, north of the Hindu Kush, the Amu Darya is formed by the confluence of the Vakhsh and Panj rivers, in the Tigrovaya Balka Nature Reserve on the border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and flows from there north-westwards into the southern remnants of the Aral Sea. In its upper course, the river forms part of Afghanistan's northern border with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. In ancient history, the river was regarded as the boundary of Greater Iran with "Turan", which roughly corresponded to present-day Central Asia. The Amu Darya has a flow of about 70 cubic kilometres per year on average.

Syr Darya

Syr Darya

The Syr Darya, historically known as the Jaxartes, is a river in Central Asia. The name, which is Persian, literally means Syr Sea or Syr River. It originates in the Tian Shan Mountains in Kyrgyzstan and eastern Uzbekistan and flows for 2,256.25 kilometres (1,401.97 mi) west and north-west through Uzbekistan and southern Kazakhstan to the northern remnants of the Aral Sea. It is the northern and eastern of the two main rivers in the endorheic basin of the Aral Sea, the other being the Amu Darya (Jayhun).

Hari (Afghanistan)

Hari (Afghanistan)

The Hari River or Herat River is a river flowing 1,100 kilometres (680 mi) from the mountains of central Afghanistan to Turkmenistan, where it forms the Tejend oasis and disappears in the Karakum Desert. In its lower course, the river forms a northern part of the border between Afghanistan and Iran, and a southeastern part of the border between Turkmenistan and Iran.

Ecology and behaviour

Tigers are comfortable in water and frequently batheTiger scent marking its territory
Tigers are comfortable in water and frequently bathe
Tigers are comfortable in water and frequently batheTiger scent marking its territory
Tiger scent marking its territory

Social and daily activities

When not subject to human disturbance, the tiger is mainly diurnal.[82] It does not often climb trees but cases have been recorded.[50] It is a strong swimmer and often bathes in ponds, lakes and rivers, thus keeping cool in the heat of the day.[83] Individuals can cross rivers up to 7 km (4.3 mi) wide and can swim up to 29 km (18 mi) in a day.[84] During the 1980s, a tiger was observed frequently hunting prey through deep lake water in Ranthambhore National Park.[82]

The tiger is a long-ranging species, and individuals disperse over distances of up to 650 km (400 mi) to reach tiger populations in other areas.[85] Radio-collared tigers in Chitwan National Park started dispersing from their natal areas earliest at the age of 19 months. Four females dispersed between 0 and 43.2 km (0.0 and 26.8 mi), and 10 males between 9.5 and 65.7 km (5.9 and 40.8 mi). None of them crossed open cultivated areas that were more than 10 km (6.2 mi) wide, but moved through forested habitat.[86]

Adult tigers lead largely solitary lives. They establish and maintain territories but have much wider home ranges within which they roam. Resident adults of either sex generally confine their movements to their home ranges, within which they satisfy their needs and those of their growing cubs. Individuals sharing the same area are aware of each other's movements and activities.[87] The size of the home range mainly depends on prey abundance, geographic area and sex of the individual.[50][22] In India, home ranges appear to be 50 to 1,000 km2 (19 to 386 sq mi) while in Manchuria, they range from 500 to 4,000 km2 (190 to 1,540 sq mi). In Nepal, defended territories are recorded to be 19 to 151 km2 (7.3 to 58.3 sq mi) for males and 10 to 51 km2 (3.9 to 19.7 sq mi) for females.[84]

Young female tigers establish their first territories close to their mother's. The overlap between the female and her mother's territory reduces with time. Males, however, migrate further than their female counterparts and set out at a younger age to mark out their own area. A young male acquires territory either by seeking out an area devoid of other male tigers, or by living as a transient in another male's territory until he is older and strong enough to challenge the resident male. Young males seeking to establish themselves thereby comprise the highest mortality rate (30–35% per year) amongst adult tigers.[88]

Females playing in Ranthambore Tiger Reserve
Females playing in Ranthambore Tiger Reserve

To identify his territory, the male marks trees by spraying urine,[89][90] anal gland secretions, marking trails with feces and marking trees or the ground with their claws. Females also use these "scrapes", urine and fecal markings. Scent markings of this type allow an individual to pick up information on another's identity, sex and reproductive status. Females in oestrus will signal their availability by scent marking more frequently and increasing their vocalisations.[50]

Although for the most part avoiding each other, tigers are not always territorial and relationships between individuals can be complex. An adult of either sex will sometimes share its kill with others, even with unrelated tigers. George Schaller observed a male share a kill with two females and four cubs. Unlike male lions, male tigers allow females and cubs to feed on the kill before the male is finished with it; all involved generally seem to behave amicably, in contrast to the competitive behaviour shown by a lion pride.[91] Stephen Mills described a social feeding event in Ranthambore National Park:

A dominant tigress they called Padmini killed a 250 kg (550 lb) male nilgai – a very large antelope. They found her at the kill just after dawn with her three 14-month-old cubs, and they watched uninterrupted for the next ten hours. During this period the family was joined by two adult females and one adult male, all offspring from Padmini's previous litters, and by two unrelated tigers, one female the other unidentified. By three o'clock there were no fewer than nine tigers round the kill.[88]

Male tigers are generally less tolerant of other males within their territories than females are of other females. Territory disputes are usually solved by intimidation rather than outright violence. Several such incidents have been observed in which the subordinate tiger yielded by rolling onto its back and showing its belly in a submissive posture.[92] Once dominance has been established, a male may tolerate a subordinate within his range, as long as they do not live in too close quarters.[88] The most serious disputes tend to occur between two males competing for a female in oestrus, sometimes fighting to the death.[88][92]

Tiger in Kanha National Park showing flehmen
Tiger in Kanha National Park showing flehmen

Facial expressions include the "defense threat", where an individual bares its teeth, flattens its ears and its pupils enlarge. Both males and females show a flehmen response, a characteristic grimace, when sniffing urine markings, but flehmen is more often associated with males detecting the markings made by tigresses in oestrus.[22]

Tigers roar to signal their presence to other individuals over long distances. This vocalization is forced through an open mouth as it closes and can be heard 3 km (1.9 mi) away. They may roar three or four times in a row, and other tigers may respond in kind. When tense, tigers will moan, a sound similar to a roar but softer and made when the mouth is at least partially closed. Moaning can be heard 400 m (1,300 ft) away.[22][91] For aggressive encounters, tigers growl, snarl and hiss.[91] During an attack, an explosive "coughing roar" or "coughing snarl" is emitted though an open mouth and exposed teeth.[22][91][93] Chuffing—soft, low-frequency snorting similar to purring in smaller cats—is heard in more friendly situations.[94] Other vocalizations include grunts, woofs and miaows.[22]

Hunting and diet

An adult tiger showing incisors, canines and part of the premolars and molarsDentition of tiger above, and of Asian black bear below. The large canines are used for killing, and the carnassials for tearing flesh
An adult tiger showing incisors, canines and part of the premolars and molars
An adult tiger showing incisors, canines and part of the premolars and molarsDentition of tiger above, and of Asian black bear below. The large canines are used for killing, and the carnassials for tearing flesh
Dentition of tiger above, and of Asian black bear below. The large canines are used for killing, and the carnassials for tearing flesh

In the wild, tigers mostly feed on large and medium-sized mammals, particularly ungulates weighing 60–250 kg (130–550 lb). Range-wide the most selected prey are spotted deer, sambar deer, Manchurian wapiti, barasingha and wild boar. Tigers are capable of taking down larger prey like adult gaur and wild water buffalo,[95] but will also opportunistically eat much smaller prey, such as monkeys, peafowl and other ground-based birds, hares, porcupines, and fish.[50] They also prey on other predators, including dogs, leopards, bears, snakes and crocodiles.[96] Tigers generally do not prey on fully grown adult Asian elephants and Indian rhinoceros but incidents have been reported.[97][98][99] More often, it is the more vulnerable small calves that are taken.[100] When in close proximity to humans, tigers will also sometimes prey on such domestic livestock as cattle, horses, and donkeys. Although almost exclusively carnivorous, tigers will occasionally eat vegetation for dietary fibre such as fruit of the slow match tree.[96]

Tigers are thought to be mainly nocturnal predators,[69] but in areas where humans are absent, remote-controlled, hidden camera traps recorded them hunting in daylight.[101] They generally hunt alone and ambush their prey as most other cats do, overpowering them from any angle, using their body size and strength to knock the prey off balance. Successful hunts usually require the tiger to almost simultaneously leap onto its quarry, knock it over, and grab the throat or nape with its teeth.[84] Despite their large size, tigers can reach speeds of about 49–65 km/h (30–40 mph) but only in short bursts; consequently, tigers must be close to their prey before they break cover. If the prey senses the tiger's presence before this, the tiger usually abandons the hunt rather than give chase or battle pre-alerted prey. Horizontal leaps of up to 10 m (33 ft) have been reported, although leaps of around half this distance are more typical. One in 2 to 20 hunts, including stalking near potential prey, ends in a successful kill.[84][69]

Bengal tiger subduing an Indian boar at Tadoba National ParkBengal tiger attacking a sambar in Ranthambore Tiger Reserve
Bengal tiger subduing an Indian boar at Tadoba National Park
Bengal tiger subduing an Indian boar at Tadoba National ParkBengal tiger attacking a sambar in Ranthambore Tiger Reserve
Bengal tiger attacking a sambar in Ranthambore Tiger Reserve

When hunting larger animals, tigers prefer to bite the throat and use their powerful forelimbs to hold onto the prey, often simultaneously wrestling it to the ground. The tiger remains latched onto the neck until its target dies of strangulation.[91] By this method, gaurs and water buffaloes weighing over a ton have been killed by tigers weighing about a sixth as much.[102] Although they can kill healthy adults, tigers often select the calves or infirm of very large species.[103] Healthy adult prey of this type can be dangerous to tackle, as long, strong horns, legs and tusks are all potentially fatal to the tiger. No other extant land predator routinely takes on prey this large on its own.[18][104]

With small prey such as monkeys and hares, the tiger bites the nape, often breaking the spinal cord, piercing the windpipe, or severing the jugular vein or common carotid artery.[105] Rarely, tigers have been observed to kill prey by swiping with their paws, which are powerful enough to smash the skulls of domestic cattle,[96] and break the backs of sloth bears.[106]

After killing their prey, tigers sometimes drag it to conceal it in vegetation, grasping with their mouths at the site of the killing bite. This, too, can require great physical strength. In one case, after it had killed an adult gaur, a tiger was observed to drag the massive carcass over a distance of 12 m (39 ft). When 13 men simultaneously tried to drag the same carcass later, they were unable to move it.[84] An adult tiger can go for up to two weeks without eating, then gorge on 34 kg (75 lb) of flesh at one time. In captivity, adult tigers are fed 3 to 6 kg (6.6 to 13.2 lb) of meat a day.[84]

Enemies and competitors

Tiger hunted by wild dogs, Illustration in Samuel Howett & Edward Orme, Hand Coloured, Aquatint Engravings, 1807
Tiger hunted by wild dogs, Illustration in Samuel Howett & Edward Orme, Hand Coloured, Aquatint Engravings, 1807

Tigers usually prefer to eat self-killed prey, but eat carrion in times of scarcity and also steal prey from other large carnivores. Although predators typically avoid one another, if a prize is under dispute or a serious competitor is encountered, displays of aggression are common. If these fail, the conflicts may turn violent; tigers may kill or even prey on competitors such as leopards, dholes, striped hyenas, wolves, bears, pythons, and mugger crocodiles on occasion.[27][106][107][108][109] Crocodiles, bears, and large packs of dholes may win conflicts with tigers, and crocodiles and bears can even kill them.[27][18][110][111]

The considerably smaller leopard avoids competition from tigers by hunting at different times of the day and hunting different prey.[112] In India's Nagarhole National Park, most prey selected by leopards were from 30 to 175 kg (66 to 386 lb) against a preference for heavier prey by tigers. The average prey weight in the two respective big cats in India was 37.6 kg (83 lb) against 91.5 kg (202 lb).[113][114] With relatively abundant prey, tigers and leopards were seen to successfully coexist without competitive exclusion or interspecies dominance hierarchies that may be more common to the African savanna, where the leopard lives beside the lion.[113] Golden jackals may scavenge on tiger kills.[115] Tigers appear to inhabit the deep parts of a forest while smaller predators like leopards and dholes are pushed closer to the fringes.[116]

Reproduction and life cycle

Tiger family in Kanha Tiger ReserveTiger family in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve
Tiger family in Kanha Tiger Reserve
Tiger family in Kanha Tiger ReserveTiger family in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve
Tiger family in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve

The tiger mates all year round, but most cubs are born between March and June, with a second peak in September. Gestation ranges from 93 to 114 days, with an average of 103 to 105 days. A female is only receptive for three to six days.[117] Mating is frequent and noisy during that time.[49] The female gives birth in a sheltered location such as in tall grass, in a dense thicket, cave or rocky crevice. The father generally takes no part in rearing.[18] Litters consist of two or three cubs, rarely as many as six. Cubs weigh from 780 to 1,600 g (28 to 56 oz) each at birth, and are born with eyes closed. They open their eyes when they are six to 14 days old.[117] Their milk teeth break through at the age of about two weeks. They start to eat meat at the age of eight weeks. At around this time, females usually shift them to a new den.[49] They make short ventures with their mother, although they do not travel with her as she roams her territory until they are older. Females lactate for five to six months.[117] Around the time they are weaned, they start to accompany their mother on territorial walks and are taught how to hunt.[82]

A dominant cub emerges in most litters, usually a male. The dominant cub is more active than its siblings and takes the lead in their play, eventually leaving its mother and becoming independent earlier.[82] The cubs start hunting on their own earliest at the age of 11 months, and become independent around 18 to 20 months of age.[91] They separate from their mother at the age of two to two and a half years, but continue to grow until the age of five years.[49] Young females reach sexual maturity at three to four years, whereas males at four to five years.[18] Unrelated wandering male tigers often kill cubs to make the female receptive, since the tigress may give birth to another litter within five months if the cubs of the previous litter are lost. The mortality rate of tiger cubs is about 50% in the first two years. Few other predators attack tiger cubs due to the diligence and ferocity of the mother. Apart from humans and other tigers, common causes of cub mortality are starvation, freezing, and accidents.[104] Generation length of the tiger is about eight years.[118] The oldest recorded captive tiger lived for 26 years.[84]

Occasionally, male tigers participate in raising cubs, usually their own, but this is extremely rare and not always well understood. In May 2015, Amur tigers were photographed by camera traps in the Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve. The photos show a male Amur tiger pass by, followed by a female and three cubs within the span of about two minutes.[119] In Ranthambore, a male Bengal tiger raised and defended two orphaned female cubs after their mother had died of illness. The cubs remained under his care, he supplied them with food, protected them from his rival and sister, and apparently also trained them.[120]

Discover more about Ecology and behaviour related topics

Diurnality

Diurnality

Diurnality is a form of plant and animal behavior characterized by activity during daytime, with a period of sleeping or other inactivity at night. The common adjective used for daytime activity is "diurnal". The timing of activity by an animal depends on a variety of environmental factors such as the temperature, the ability to gather food by sight, the risk of predation, and the time of year. Diurnality is a cycle of activity within a 24-hour period; cyclic activities called circadian rhythms are endogenous cycles not dependent on external cues or environmental factors except for a zeitgeber. Animals active during twilight are crepuscular, those active during the night are nocturnal and animals active at sporadic times during both night and day are cathemeral.

Chitwan National Park

Chitwan National Park

Chitwan National Park is the first national park of Nepal. It was established in 1973 and was granted the status of a World Heritage Site in 1984. It covers an area of 952.63 km2 (367.81 sq mi) and it is located in the subtropical Inner Terai lowlands of south-central Nepal in the districts of Nawalpur, Parasi, Chitwan and Makwanpur. In altitude it ranges from about 100 m (330 ft) in the river valleys to 815 m (2,674 ft) in the Sivalik Hills.

Territory (animal)

Territory (animal)

In ethology, territory is the sociographical area that an animal consistently defends against conspecific competition using agonistic behaviors or real physical aggression. Animals that actively defend territories in this way are referred to as being territorial or displaying territorialism.

Anal gland

Anal gland

The anal glands or anal sacs are small glands near the anus in many mammals, including dogs and cats. They are paired sacs on either side of the anus between the external and internal sphincter muscles. Sebaceous glands within the lining secrete a liquid that is used for identification of members within a species. These sacs are found in many species of carnivorans, including wolves, bears, sea otters and kinkajous.

Feces

Feces

Feces, known colloquially and in slang as poo and poop, are the solid or semi-solid remains of food that was not digested in the small intestine, and has been broken down by bacteria in the large intestine. Feces contain a relatively small amount of metabolic waste products such as bacterially altered bilirubin, and dead epithelial cells from the lining of the gut.

George Schaller

George Schaller

George Beals Schaller is a German-born American mammalogist, biologist, conservationist and author. Schaller is recognized by many as the world's preeminent field biologist, studying wildlife throughout Africa, Asia and South America. Born in Berlin, Schaller grew up in Germany, but moved to Missouri as a teen. He is vice president of Panthera Corporation and serves as chairman of their Cat Advisory Council. Schaller is also a senior conservationist at the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society.

Nilgai

Nilgai

The nilgai is the largest antelope of Asia, and is ubiquitous across the northern Indian subcontinent. It is the sole member of the genus Boselaphus, which was first described by Peter Simon Pallas in 1766. The nilgai stands 1–1.5 m (3.3–4.9 ft) at the shoulder; males weigh 109–400 kg (240–882 lb), and the lighter females 100–213 kg (220–470 lb). A sturdy thin-legged antelope, the nilgai is characterised by a sloping back, a deep neck with a white patch on the throat, a short crest of hair along the neck terminating in a tuft, and white facial spots. A column of pendant coarse hair hangs from the dewlap ridge below the white patch. Sexual dimorphism is prominent – while females and juveniles are orange to tawny, adult males have a bluish-grey coat. Only males possess horns, 15–24 cm (5.9–9.4 in) long.

Flehmen response

Flehmen response

The flehmen response, also called the flehmen position, flehmen reaction, flehmen grimace, flehming, or flehmening, is a behavior in which an animal curls back its upper lip exposing its front teeth, inhales with the nostrils usually closed, and then often holds this position for several seconds. It may be performed over a sight or substance of particular interest to the animal, or may be performed with the neck stretched and the head held high in the air.

Roar (vocalization)

Roar (vocalization)

A roar is a type of animal vocalization that is deep and resonating. Many mammals have evolved to produce roars and other roar-like vocals for purposes such as long-distance communication and intimidation. These include various species of big cats, bears, pinnipeds, deer, bovids, elephants and simians.

Growl

Growl

Growling is a low, guttural vocalization produced by predatory animals; producing growls.

Snarl

Snarl

A snarl is a sound, often a growl or vicious utterance, often accompanied by a facial expression, where the upper lip is raised, and the nostrils widen, generally indicating hate, anger or pain. In addition to humans, other mammals including monkeys, rabbits and dogs snarl, often to warn others of their potential bite. In humans, snarling uses the levator labii superioris alaeque nasi muscle. The threatening vocalizations of snarling are often accompanied by or used synonymously with threatening facial expressions.

Conservation

Global wild tiger population
Country Year Estimate
India India 2020 2,967[121]
Russia Russia 2016 433[122]
Indonesia Indonesia 2016 371[122]
Bangladesh Bangladesh 2014 300–500[1]
Nepal Nepal 2022 355[123]
Thailand Thailand 2016 189[122]
Bhutan Bhutan 2015 89–124[124]
Malaysia Malaysia 2014 80–120[125]
China China 2018 55[126]
Myanmar Myanmar 2018 22[127]
Laos Laos 2016 14[80]
Vietnam Vietnam 2016 [122]
Cambodia Cambodia 2016 0[1]
Total 4,744–5,074

In the 1990s, a new approach to tiger conservation was developed: Tiger Conservation Units (TCUs), which are blocks of habitat that have the potential to host tiger populations in 15 habitat types within five bioregions. Altogether 143 TCUs were identified and prioritized based on size and integrity of habitat, poaching pressure and population status. They range in size from 33 to 155,829 km2 (13 to 60,166 sq mi).[73]

In 2016, an estimate of a global wild tiger population of approximately 3,890 individuals was presented during the Third Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation.[122][128] The WWF subsequently declared that the world's count of wild tigers had risen for the first time in a century.[129]

Major threats to the tiger include habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation and poaching for fur and body parts, which have simultaneously greatly reduced tiger populations in the wild.[1] In India, only 11% of the historical tiger habitat remains due to habitat fragmentation.[130] Demand for tiger parts for use in traditional Chinese medicine has also been cited as a major threat to tiger populations.[131][132][133] Some estimates suggest that there are fewer than 2,500 mature breeding individuals, with no subpopulation containing more than 250 mature breeding individuals.[1]

India is home to the world's largest population of wild tigers.[122] A 2014 census estimated a population of 2,226, a 30% increase since 2011.[134] On International Tiger Day 2019, the 'Tiger Estimation Report 2018' was released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The report estimates a population of 2967 tigers in India with 25% increase since 2014. Modi said "India is one of the safest habitats for tigers as it has achieved the target of doubling the tiger population from 1411 in 2011 to 2967 in 2019".[135] As of 2022, India accounts for 75 percent of global tiger population.[136]

In 1973, India's Project Tiger, started by Indira Gandhi, established numerous tiger reserves. The project was credited with tripling the number of wild Bengal tigers from some 1,200 in 1973 to over 3,500 in the 1990s, but a 2007 census showed that numbers had dropped back to about 1,400 tigers because of poaching.[137][138][139] Following the report, the Indian government pledged $153 million to the initiative, set up measures to combat poaching, promised funds to relocate up to 200,000 villagers in order to reduce human-tiger interactions,[140] and set up eight new tiger reserves in India .[141] India also reintroduced tigers to the Sariska Tiger Reserve[142] and by 2009 it was claimed that poaching had been effectively countered at Ranthambore National Park.[143]

In the 1940s, the Siberian tiger was on the brink of extinction with only about 40 animals remaining in the wild in Russia. As a result, anti-poaching controls were put in place by the Soviet Union and a network of protected zones (zapovedniks) were instituted, leading to a rise in the population to several hundred. Poaching again became a problem in the 1990s, when the economy of Russia collapsed. The major obstacle in preserving the species is the enormous territory individual tigers require, up to 450 km (280 mi) needed by a single female and more for a single male.[144] Current conservation efforts are led by local governments and NGO's in concert with international organisations, such as the World Wide Fund for Nature and the Wildlife Conservation Society.[145] The competitive exclusion of wolves by tigers has been used by Russian conservationists to convince hunters to tolerate the big cats. Tigers have less impact on ungulate populations than do wolves, and are effective in controlling the latter's numbers.[146] In 2005, there were thought to be about 360 animals in Russia, though these exhibited little genetic diversity.[147] However, in a decade later, the Siberian tiger census was estimated from 480 to 540 individuals.[148]

In China, tigers became the target of large-scale 'anti-pest' campaigns in the early 1950s, where suitable habitats were fragmented following deforestation and resettlement of people to rural areas, who hunted tigers and prey species. Though tiger hunting was prohibited in 1977, the population continued to decline and is considered extinct in southern China since 2001.[149][150] Having earlier rejected the Western-led environmentalist movement, China changed its stance in the 1980s and became a party to the CITES treaty. By 1993 it had banned the trade in tiger parts, and this diminished the use of tiger bones in traditional Chinese medicine.[151] The Tibetan people's trade in tiger skins has also been a threat to tigers. The pelts were used in clothing, tiger-skin chuba being worn as fashion. In 2006 the 14th Dalai Lama was persuaded to take up the issue. Since then there has been a change of attitude, with some Tibetans publicly burning their chubas.[152]

Camera trap image of wild Sumatran tiger
Camera trap image of wild Sumatran tiger

In 1994, the Indonesian Sumatran Tiger Conservation Strategy addressed the potential crisis that tigers faced in Sumatra. The Sumatran Tiger Project (STP) was initiated in June 1995 in and around the Way Kambas National Park to ensure the long-term viability of wild Sumatran tigers and to accumulate data on tiger life-history characteristics vital for the management of wild populations.[153] By August 1999, the teams of the STP had evaluated 52 sites of potential tiger habitat in Lampung Province, of which only 15 these were intact enough to contain tigers.[154] In the framework of the STP a community-based conservation program was initiated to document the tiger-human dimension in the park to enable conservation authorities to resolve tiger-human conflicts based on a comprehensive database rather than anecdotes and opinions.[155]

The Wildlife Conservation Society and Panthera Corporation formed the collaboration Tigers Forever, with field sites including the world's largest tiger reserve, the 21,756 km2 (8,400 sq mi) Hukaung Valley in Myanmar. Other reserves were in the Western Ghats in India, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, the Russian Far East covering in total about 260,000 km2 (100,000 sq mi).[156]

Tigers have been studied in the wild using a variety of techniques. Tiger population have been estimated using plaster casts of their pugmarks, although this method was criticized as being inaccurate.[157] More recent techniques include the use of camera traps and studies of DNA from tiger scat, while radio-collaring has been used to track tigers in the wild.[158] Tiger spray has been found to be just as good, or better, as a source of DNA than scat.[159]

Discover more about Conservation related topics

21st Century Tiger

21st Century Tiger

21st Century Tiger raises funds for wild tiger conservation projects. It was formed in 1997 as a partnership between the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Global Tiger Patrol (GTP) and Tusk Force so that the three groups could collaborate, rather than compete, in raising money for tigers in the UK. The two current members of the coalition are ZSL and Dreamworld Wildlife Foundation (DWF). Based in offices provided by ZSL in Regent's Park, London, and with administration funded by a sponsor, it is able to spend 100% of funds raised on tiger projects. 21st Century Tiger is one of the top seven contributors to tiger conservation worldwide and since its inception it has provided over £2 million to over 70 tiger projects in seven countries.

India

India

India, officially the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand, Myanmar, and Indonesia.

Indonesia

Indonesia

Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia, is a country in Southeast Asia between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It consists of over 17,000 islands, including Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, and parts of Borneo and New Guinea. Indonesia is the world's largest archipelagic state and the 14th-largest country by area, at 1,904,569 square kilometres. With over 275 million people, Indonesia is the world's fourth-most populous country and the most populous Muslim-majority country. Java, the world's most populous island, is home to more than half of the country's population.

Bangladesh

Bangladesh

Bangladesh, officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in South Asia. It is the eighth-most populous country in the world, with a population exceeding 165 million people in an area of 148,460 square kilometres (57,320 sq mi). Bangladesh is among the most densely populated countries in the world, and shares land borders with India to the west, north, and east, and Myanmar to the southeast; to the south it has a coastline along the Bay of Bengal. It is narrowly separated from Bhutan and Nepal by the Siliguri Corridor; and from China by the Indian state of Sikkim in the north. Dhaka, the capital and largest city, is the nation's political, financial and cultural centre. Chittagong, the second-largest city, is the busiest port on the Bay of Bengal. The official language is Bengali, one of the easternmost branches of the Indo-European language family.

Bhutan

Bhutan

Bhutan, officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked country in South Asia. It is situated in the Eastern Himalayas, between China in the north and India in the south. A mountainous country, Bhutan is known locally as "Druk Yul" or "Land of the Thunder Dragon". Nepal and Bangladesh are located near Bhutan but do not share a land border. The country has a population of over 727,145 and territory of 38,394 square kilometres (14,824 sq mi) and ranks 133rd in terms of land area and 160th in population. Bhutan is a constitutional monarchy with a king as the head of state and a prime minister as the head of government. Vajrayana Buddhism is the state religion and the Je Khenpo is the head of state religion.

Malaysia

Malaysia

Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia. The federal constitutional monarchy consists of thirteen states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two regions: Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo's East Malaysia. Peninsular Malaysia shares a land and maritime border with Thailand and maritime borders with Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia. East Malaysia shares land and maritime borders with Brunei and Indonesia, and a maritime border with the Philippines and Vietnam. Kuala Lumpur is the national capital, the country's largest city, and the seat of the legislative branch of the federal government. The nearby planned capital of Putrajaya is the administrative capital, which represents the seat of both the executive branch and the judicial branch of the federal government. With a population of over 32 million, Malaysia is the world's 45th-most populous country. The southernmost point of continental Eurasia is in Tanjung Piai. In the tropics, Malaysia is one of 17 megadiverse countries, home to numerous endemic species.

China

China

China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a population exceeding 1.4 billion, slightly ahead of India. China spans the equivalent of five time zones and borders fourteen countries by land, the most of any country in the world, tied with Russia. With an area of approximately 9.6 million square kilometres (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the world's third largest country by total land area. The country consists of 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four municipalities, and two special administrative regions. The national capital is Beijing, and the most populous city and financial center is Shanghai.

Laos

Laos

Laos, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a socialist state and the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia. At the heart of the Indochinese Peninsula, Laos is bordered by Myanmar and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the southeast, and Thailand to the west and southwest. Its capital and largest city is Vientiane.

Cambodia

Cambodia

Cambodia, officially the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochinese Peninsula in Southeast Asia, spanning an area of 181,035 square kilometres, bordered by Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the north, Vietnam to the east, and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest. The capital and largest city is Phnom Penh.

Bioregion

Bioregion

A bioregion is an ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than a biogeographic realm, but larger than an ecoregion or an ecosystem, in the World Wide Fund for Nature classification scheme. There is also an attempt to use the term in a rank-less generalist sense, similar to the terms "biogeographic area" or "biogeographic unit".

Habitat destruction

Habitat destruction

Habitat destruction is the process by which a natural habitat becomes incapable of supporting its native species. The organisms that previously inhabited the site are displaced or dead, thereby reducing biodiversity and species abundance. Habitat destruction is the leading cause of biodiversity loss. Fragmentation and loss of habitat have become one of the most important topics of research in ecology as they are major threats to the survival of endangered species.

Habitat fragmentation

Habitat fragmentation

Habitat fragmentation describes the emergence of discontinuities (fragmentation) in an organism's preferred environment (habitat), causing population fragmentation and ecosystem decay. Causes of habitat fragmentation include geological processes that slowly alter the layout of the physical environment, and human activity such as land conversion, which can alter the environment much faster and causes the extinction of many species. More specifically, habitat fragmentation is a process by which large and contiguous habitats get divided into smaller, isolated patches of habitats.

Relationship with humans

Tiger hunting

Tiger hunting on elephant-back in India, 1808
Tiger hunting on elephant-back in India, 1808

The tiger has been one of the most sought after game animals of Asia. Tiger hunting took place on a large scale in the early 19th and 20th centuries, being a recognised and admired sport by the British in colonial India, the maharajas and aristocratic class of the erstwhile princely states of pre-independence India. A single maharaja or English hunter could claim to kill over a hundred tigers in their hunting career.[84] Over 80,000 tigers were slaughtered in just 50 years spanning from 1875 to 1925 in British-ruled India.[160] Tiger hunting was done by some hunters on foot; others sat up on machans with a goat or buffalo tied out as bait; yet others on elephant-back.[161] King George V on his visit to Colonial India in 1911 killed 39 tigers in a matter of 10 days[162] One of these is on display at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum.[163]

Historically, tigers have been hunted at a large scale so their famous striped skins could be collected. The trade in tiger skins peaked in the 1960s, just before international conservation efforts took effect. By 1977, a tiger skin in an English market was considered to be worth US$4,250.[84]

Body part use

Tiger parts are commonly used as amulets in South and Southeast Asia. In the Philippines, the fossils in Palawan were found besides stone tools. This, besides the evidence for cuts on the bones, and the use of fire, suggests that early humans had accumulated the bones,[40] and the condition of the tiger subfossils, dated to approximately 12,000 to 9,000 years ago, differed from other fossils in the assemblage, dated to the Upper Paleolithic. The tiger subfossils showed longitudinal fracture of the cortical bone due to weathering, which suggests that they had post-mortem been exposed to light and air. Tiger canines were found in Ambangan sites dating to the 10th to 12th centuries in Butuan, Mindanao.[41][42]

A hunting party poses with a killed Javan tiger, 1941
A hunting party poses with a killed Javan tiger, 1941

Many people in China and other parts of Asia have a belief that various tiger parts have medicinal properties, including as pain killers and aphrodisiacs.[164] There is no scientific evidence to support these beliefs. The use of tiger parts in pharmaceutical drugs in China is already banned, and the government has made some offences in connection with tiger poaching punishable by death. Furthermore, all trade in tiger parts is illegal under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and a domestic trade ban has been in place in China since 1993.[165]

However, the trading of tiger parts in Asia has become a major black market industry and governmental and conservation attempts to stop it have been ineffective to date.[84] Almost all black marketers engaged in the trade are based in China and have either been shipped and sold within in their own country or into Taiwan, South Korea or Japan.[84] The Chinese subspecies was almost completely decimated by killing for commerce due to both the parts and skin trades in the 1950s through the 1970s.[84] Contributing to the illegal trade, there are a number of tiger farms in the country specialising in breeding them for profit. It is estimated that between 5,000 and 10,000 captive-bred, semi-tame animals live in these farms today.[166][167][168] However, many tigers for traditional medicine black market are wild ones shot or snared by poachers and may be caught anywhere in the tiger's remaining range (from Siberia to India to the Malay Peninsula to Sumatra). In the Asian black market, a tiger penis can be worth the equivalent of around $300 U.S. dollars. In the years of 1990 through 1992, 27 million products with tiger derivatives were found.[84] In July 2014 at an international convention on endangered species in Geneva, Switzerland, a Chinese representative admitted for the first time his government was aware trading in tiger skins was occurring in China.[169]

Man-eating tigers

Stereographic photograph (1903), captioned "Famous 'man-eater' at Calcutta—devoured 200 men, women and children before capture—India"[170]
Stereographic photograph (1903), captioned "Famous 'man-eater' at Calcutta—devoured 200 men, women and children before capture—India"[170]

Wild tigers that have had no prior contact with humans actively avoid interactions with them. However, tigers cause more human deaths through direct attack than any other wild mammal.[84] Attacks are occasionally provoked, as tigers lash out after being injured while they themselves are hunted. Attacks can be provoked accidentally, as when a human surprises a tiger or inadvertently comes between a mother and her young,[171] or as in a case in rural India when a postman startled a tiger, used to seeing him on foot, by riding a bicycle.[172] Occasionally tigers come to view people as prey. Such attacks are most common in areas where population growth, logging, and farming have put pressure on tiger habitats and reduced their wild prey. Most man-eating tigers are old, missing teeth, and unable to capture their preferred prey.[50] For example, the Champawat Tiger, a tigress found in Nepal and then India, had two broken canines. She was responsible for an estimated 430 human deaths, the most attacks known to be perpetrated by a single wild animal, by the time she was shot in 1907 by Jim Corbett.[173] According to Corbett, tiger attacks on humans are normally in daytime, when people are working outdoors and are not keeping watch.[174] Early writings tend to describe man-eating tigers as cowardly because of their ambush tactics.[175]

Man-eaters have been a particular problem in recent decades in India and Bangladesh, especially in Kumaon, Garhwal and the Sundarbans mangrove swamps of Bengal, where some healthy tigers have hunted humans. Because of rapid habitat loss attributed to climate change, tiger attacks have increased in the Sundarbans.[176] The Sundarbans area had 129 human deaths from tigers from 1969 to 1971. In the 10 years prior to that period, about 100 attacks per year in the Sundarbans, with a high of around 430 in some years of the 1960s.[84] Unusually, in some years in the Sundarbans, more humans are killed by tigers than vice versa.[84] In 1972, India's production of honey and beeswax dropped by 50% when at least 29 people who gathered these materials were devoured.[84] In 1986 in the Sundarbans, since tigers almost always attack from the rear, masks with human faces were worn on the back of the head, on the theory that tigers usually do not attack if seen by their prey. This decreased the number of attacks only temporarily. All other means to prevent attacks, such as providing more prey or using electrified human dummies, did not work as well.[177]

In captivity

Publicity photo of animal trainer Gunther Gebel-Williams with several of his trained tigers, promoting him as "superstar" of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus circa 1969.
Publicity photo of animal trainer Gunther Gebel-Williams with several of his trained tigers, promoting him as "superstar" of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus circa 1969.

In Ancient Roman times, tigers were kept in menageries and amphitheatres to be exhibited, trained and paraded, and were often provoked to fight gladiators and other exotic beasts.[178][179] Since the 17th century, tigers, being rare and ferocious, were sought after to keep at European castles as symbols of their owners' power. Tigers became central zoo and circus exhibits in the 18th century: a tiger could cost up to 4,000 francs in France (for comparison, a professor of the Beaux-Arts at Lyons earned only 3,000 francs a year),[180] or up to $3,500 in the United States, where a lion cost no more than $1,000.[181]

In 2007, over 4,000 captive tigers lived in China, of which 3,000 were held by about 20 larger facilities, with the rest held by some 200 smaller facilities.[182] In 2011, 468 facilities in the USA kept 2,884 tigers.[183] Nineteen US states banned private ownership of tigers, fifteen require a license, and sixteen states have no regulation.[184] Genetic ancestry of 105 captive tigers from fourteen countries and regions showed that forty-nine animals belonged distinctly to five subspecies; fifty-two animals had mixed subspecies origins.[185] Many Siberian tigers in zoos today are actually the result of crosses with Bengal tigers.[186]

Discover more about Relationship with humans related topics

Presidencies and provinces of British India

Presidencies and provinces of British India

British India was the collective name for the administrative divisions of British governance on the Indian subcontinent, also termed as the provinces of India, earlier presidencies of British India and still earlier, presidency towns. In one form or another, they existed between 1612 and 1947, conventionally divided into three historical periods:Between 1612 and 1757 the East India Company set up factories in several locations, mostly in coastal India, with the consent of the Mughal emperors, Maratha Empire or local rulers. Its rivals were the merchant trading companies of Portugal, Denmark, the Netherlands, and France. By the mid-18th century, three presidency towns: Madras, Bombay and Calcutta, had grown in size. During the period of Company rule in India (1757–1858), the company gradually acquired sovereignty over large parts of India, now called "presidencies". However, it also increasingly came under British government oversight, in effect sharing sovereignty with the Crown. At the same time, it gradually lost its mercantile privileges. Following the Indian Rebellion of 1857 the company's remaining powers were transferred to the Crown. Under the British Raj (1858–1947), administrative boundaries were extended to include a few other British-administered regions, such as Upper Burma. Increasingly, however, the unwieldy presidencies were broken up into "provinces".

Maharaja

Maharaja

Mahārāja is a Sanskrit title for a "great ruler", "great king" or "high king".

Hunting blind

Hunting blind

A hunting blind (US), hide or machan is a concealment device or shelter for hunters or gamekeepers, designed to reduce the chance of detection by animals. There are different types of blinds for different situations, such as deer blinds and duck blinds. Some are exceedingly simple, while others are complex. The legality of various kinds of blinds may vary according to season, state and location.

George V

George V

George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 until his death in 1936.

Royal Albert Memorial Museum

Royal Albert Memorial Museum

Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery (RAMM) is a museum and art gallery in Exeter, Devon, the largest in the city. It holds significant and diverse collections in areas such as zoology, anthropology, fine art, local and overseas archaeology, and geology. Altogether the museum holds over one million objects, of which a small percentage is on permanent public display. It is a 'Major Partner Museum' (MPM) under the Arts Council England administered programme of strategic investment, which means RAMM receives funding (2012–15) to develop its services. RAMM receives this funding in partnership with Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery. Previously they were described as 'hub museums' under the 'Renaissance' Programme for regional museums which operated between 2002–11 and funded by the now defunct Museums Libraries & Archives Council (MLA).

Amulet

Amulet

An amulet, also known as a good luck charm or phylactery, is an object believed to confer protection upon its possessor. The word "amulet" comes from the Latin word amuletum, which Pliny's Natural History describes as "an object that protects a person from trouble". Anything can function as an amulet; items commonly so used include statues, coins, drawings, plant parts, animal parts, and written words.

South Asia

South Asia

South Asia is the southern subregion of Asia, which is defined in both geographical and ethnic-cultural terms. The region consists of the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Topographically, it is dominated by the Indian subcontinent and defined largely by the Indian Ocean on the south, and the Himalayas, Karakoram, and Pamir mountains on the north. The Amu Darya, which rises north of the Hindu Kush, forms part of the northwestern border. On land (clockwise), South Asia is bounded by Western Asia, Central Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia.

Butuan

Butuan

Butuan, officially the City of Butuan, is a 1st class highly urbanized city in the region of Caraga, Philippines. It is the de facto capital of the province of Agusan del Norte where it is geographically situated but has an administratively independent government. According to the 2020 census, it has a population of 372,910 people. 

Mindanao

Mindanao

Mindanao is the second-largest island in the Philippines, after Luzon, and seventh-most populous island in the world. Located in the southern region of the archipelago, the island is part of an island group of the same name that also includes its adjacent islands, notably the Sulu Archipelago. According to the 2020 census, Mindanao has a population of 26,252,442 people, while the entire island group has an estimated population of 27,021,036 according to the 2021 census.

Aphrodisiac

Aphrodisiac

An aphrodisiac is a substance that increases sexual desire, sexual attraction, sexual pleasure, or sexual behavior. Substances range from a variety of plants, spices, foods, and synthetic chemicals. Natural aphrodisiacs like cannabis or cocaine are classified into plant-based and non-plant-based substances. There are non-naturally-occurring aphrodisiacs like MDMA and methamphetamine. Aphrodisiacs can be classified by their type of effects. Aphrodisiacs that contain hallucinogenic properties like Bufotenin have psychological effects on a person that can increase sexual desire and sexual pleasure. Aphrodisiacs that contain smooth muscle relaxing properties like yohimbine have physiological effects on a person that can affect hormone levels and increase blood flow.

CITES

CITES

CITES is a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals from the threats of international trade. It was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The convention was opened for signature in 1973 and CITES entered into force on 1 July 1975.

Malay Peninsula

Malay Peninsula

The Malay Peninsula is a peninsula in Mainland Southeast Asia. The landmass runs approximately north–south, and at its terminus, it is the southernmost point of the Asian continental mainland. The area contains Peninsular Malaysia, Southern Thailand, and the southernmost tip of Myanmar (Kawthaung). The island country of Singapore also has historical and cultural ties with the region. The indigenous people of the peninsula are the Malays, an Austronesian people.

Cultural depictions

Tiger-shaped jie (badge of authority) with gold inlays, from the tomb of Zhao Mo (175-124 BC)
Tiger-shaped jie (badge of authority) with gold inlays, from the tomb of Zhao Mo (175-124 BC)

Tigers and their superlative qualities have been a source of fascination for mankind since ancient times, and they are routinely visible as important cultural and media motifs. They are also considered one of the charismatic megafauna, and are used as the face of conservation campaigns worldwide. In a 2004 online poll conducted by cable television channel Animal Planet, involving more than 50,000 viewers from 73 countries, the tiger was voted the world's favourite animal with 21% of the vote, narrowly beating the dog.[187]

Mythology and legend

Tiger and Magpie, a Korean minhwa (folk art) painting, late 19th century.
Tiger and Magpie, a Korean minhwa (folk art) painting, late 19th century.

In Chinese mythology and culture, the tiger is one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. In Chinese art, the tiger is depicted as an earth symbol and equal rival of the Chinese dragon – the two representing matter and spirit respectively. The Southern Chinese martial art Hung Ga is based on the movements of the tiger and the crane. In Imperial China, a tiger was the personification of war and often represented the highest army general (or present day defense secretary),[188] while the emperor and empress were represented by a dragon and phoenix, respectively. The White Tiger (Chinese: 白虎; pinyin: Bái Hǔ) is one of the Four Symbols of the Chinese constellations. It is sometimes called the White Tiger of the West (Chinese: 西方白虎), and it represents the west and the autumn season.[188]

The tiger's tail appears in stories from countries including China and Korea, it being generally inadvisable to grasp a tiger by the tail.[189][190] In Korean myth and culture, the tiger is regarded as a guardian that drives away evil spirits and a sacred creature that brings good luck – the symbol of courage and absolute power. For the people who live in and around the forests of Korea, the tiger considered the symbol of the Mountain Spirit or King of mountain animals. So, Koreans also called the tigers "San Gun" (산군) means Mountain Lord.[191]

In Buddhism, the tiger is one of the Three Senseless Creatures, symbolising anger, with the monkey representing greed and the deer lovesickness.[188] The Tungusic peoples considered the Siberian tiger a near-deity and often referred to it as "Grandfather" or "Old man". The Udege and Nanai called it "Amba". The Manchu considered the Siberian tiger as "Hu Lin," the king.[56] In Hinduism, the god Shiva wears and sits on tiger skin.[192] The ten-armed warrior goddess Durga rides the tigress (or lioness) Damon into battle. In southern India the god Ayyappan was associated with a tiger.[193] Dingu-Aneni is the god in North-East India is also associated with tiger.[194] The weretiger replaces the werewolf in shapeshifting folklore in Asia;[195] in India they were evil sorcerers, while in Indonesia and Malaysia they were somewhat more benign.[196] In Greco-Roman tradition, the tiger was depicted being ridden by the god Dionysus.[197]

William Blake's first printing of The Tyger, 1794
William Blake's first printing of The Tyger, 1794

Literature and media

In the Hindu epic Mahabharata, the tiger is fiercer and more ruthless than the lion.[198] William Blake's poem in his Songs of Experience (1794), titled "The Tyger", portrays the tiger as a menacing and fearful animal.[199] In Rudyard Kipling's 1894 The Jungle Book, the tiger Shere Khan is the mortal enemy of the human protagonist Mowgli.[199] Yann Martel's 2001 Booker Prize winning novel Life of Pi, features the title character surviving shipwreck for months on a small boat with a large Bengal tiger while avoiding being eaten. The story was adapted in Ang Lee's 2012 feature film of the same name.[200]

Friendly tiger characters include Tigger in A. A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh and Hobbes of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, both represented as stuffed animals come to life.[201] Tony the Tiger is a famous mascot for Kellogg's breakfast cereal Frosted Flakes, known for his catchphrase "They're Gr-r-reat!".[202]

Heraldry and emblems

An early silver coin of king Uttama Chola found in Sri Lanka shows the Chola Tiger sitting between the emblems of Pandyan and Chera
An early silver coin of king Uttama Chola found in Sri Lanka shows the Chola Tiger sitting between the emblems of Pandyan and Chera

The tiger is one of the animals displayed on the Pashupati seal of the Indus Valley civilisation. The tiger was the emblem of the Chola Dynasty and was depicted on coins, seals and banners.[203] The seals of several Chola copper coins show the tiger, the Pandyan emblem fish and the Chera emblem bow, indicating that the Cholas had achieved political supremacy over the latter two dynasties. Gold coins found in Kavilayadavalli in the Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh have motifs of the tiger, bow and some indistinct marks.[204] The tiger symbol of Chola Empire was later adopted by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the tiger became a symbol of the unrecognised state of Tamil Eelam and Tamil independence movement.[205] The Bengal tiger is the national animal of India and Bangladesh.[206] The Malaysian tiger is the national animal of Malaysia.[207] The Siberian tiger is the national animal of South Korea. The Tiger is featured on the logo of the Delhi Capitals IPL team.

In European heraldry, the tyger, a depiction of a tiger as imagined by European artists, is among the creatures used in charges and supporters. This creature has several notable differences from real tigers, lacking stripes and having a leonine tufted tail and a head terminating in large, pointed jaws. A more realistic tiger entered the heraldic armory through the British Empire's expansion into Asia, and is referred to as the Bengal tiger to distinguish it from its older counterpart. The Bengal tiger is not a common creature in heraldry, but is used as a supporter in the arms of Bombay and emblazoned on the shield of the University of Madras.[208]

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Charismatic megafauna

Charismatic megafauna

Charismatic megafauna are animal species that are large—in the relevant category that they represent—with symbolic value or widespread popular appeal, and are often used by environmental activists to gain public support for environmentalist goals. Examples include tigers, lions, jaguars, hippopotamuses, elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, giant pandas, brown and polar bears, rhinoceroses, kangaroos, koalas, blue whales, humpback whales, orcas, walruses, elephant seals, bald, white-tailed and eastern imperial eagles, penguins, crocodiles and great white sharks among countless others. In this definition, animals such as penguins or bald eagles can be considered megafauna because they are among the largest animals within the local animal community of pertinence, and they disproportionately affect their environment. The vast majority of charismatic megafauna species are threatened and endangered by overhunting, poaching, the black market trade, climate change, habitat destruction, invasive species, and many more causes.

Animal Planet

Animal Planet

Animal Planet is an American multinational pay television channel owned by the Warner Bros. Discovery Networks unit of Warner Bros. Discovery. First established on June 1, 1996, the network is primarily devoted to series and documentaries about wild animals and domestic pets.

Minhwa

Minhwa

Minhwa refers to Korean folk art produced mostly by itinerant or unknown artists without formal training, emulating contemporary trends in fine art for the purpose of everyday use or decoration. The term "minhwa" was coined by Yanagi Muneyoshi.

Chinese mythology

Chinese mythology

Chinese mythology is mythology that has been passed down in oral form or recorded in literature in the geographic area now known as Greater China. Chinese mythology includes many varied myths from regional and cultural traditions. Much of the mythology involves exciting stories full of fantastic people and beings, the use of magical powers, often taking place in an exotic mythological place or time. Like many mythologies, Chinese mythology has in the past been believed to be, at least in part, a factual recording of history. Along with Chinese folklore, Chinese mythology forms an important part of Chinese folk religion. Many stories regarding characters and events of the distant past have a double tradition: ones which present a more historicized or euhemerized version and ones which present a more mythological version.

Chinese culture

Chinese culture

Chinese culture is one of the world's oldest cultures, originating thousands of years ago. The culture prevails across a large geographical region in East Asia and is extremely diverse and varying, with customs and traditions varying greatly between provinces, cities, and even towns as well. The terms 'China' and the geographical landmass of 'China' have shifted across the centuries, with the last name being the Great Qing before the name 'China' became commonplace in modernity.

Chinese astrology

Chinese astrology

Chinese astrology is based on the traditional astronomy and calendars. Chinese astrology came to flourish during the Han Dynasty.

Chinese art

Chinese art

Chinese art is visual art that originated in or is practiced in China, Greater China or by Chinese artists. Art created by Chinese residing outside of China can also be considered a part of Chinese art when it is based in or draws on Chinese culture, heritage, and history. Early "Stone Age art" dates back to 10,000 BC, mostly consisting of simple pottery and sculptures. After that period, Chinese art, like Chinese history, was typically classified by the succession of ruling dynasties of Chinese emperors, most of which lasted several hundred years. The Palace Museum in Beijing and the National Palace Museum in Taipei contains extensive collections of Chinese art.

Chinese dragon

Chinese dragon

The Chinese dragon, also known as the loong, long or lung, is a legendary creature in Chinese mythology, Chinese folklore, and Chinese culture at large. Chinese dragons have many animal-like forms such as turtles and fish, but are most commonly depicted as snake-like with four legs. Academicians have identified four reliable theories on the origin of the Chinese dragon: snakes, Chinese alligators, thunder and nature worship. They traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, particularly control over water, rainfall, typhoons, and floods. The dragon is also a symbol of power, strength, and good luck for people who are worthy of it in East Asian culture. During the days of Imperial China, the Emperor of China usually used the dragon as a symbol of his imperial strength and power. In Chinese culture, excellent and outstanding people are compared to a dragon, while incapable people with no achievements are compared to other, disesteemed creatures, such as a worm.

Hung Ga

Hung Ga

Hung Ga (洪家), Hung Kuen (洪拳), or Hung Ga Kuen (洪家拳) is a southern Chinese martial art belonging to the southern Shaolin styles. The hallmarks of Hung Ga are strong stances, notably the horse stance, or "si ping ma" (四平馬), and strong hand techniques, notably the bridge hand and the versatile tiger claw. Traditionally, students spent anywhere from several months to three years in stance training, often sitting only in horse stance from half an hour to several hours at a time, before learning any forms. Each form could then take a year or so to learn, with weapons learned last. In current times, this mode of instruction is generally considered impractical for students, who have other concerns beyond practicing kung fu. However, some instructors still follow traditional guidelines and make stance training the majority of their beginner training. Hung Ga is sometimes mischaracterized as solely external—that is, reliant on brute physical force rather than the cultivation of qi—even though the student advances progressively toward an internal focus.

History of China

History of China

The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty, during the reign of king Wu Ding. Ancient historical texts such as the Book of Documents, the Bamboo Annals and the Records of the Grand Historian describe a Xia dynasty before the Shang, but no writing is known from the period, and Shang writings do not indicate the existence of the Xia. The Shang ruled in the Yellow River valley, which is commonly held to be the cradle of Chinese civilization. However, Neolithic civilizations originated at various cultural centers along both the Yellow River and Yangtze River. These Yellow River and Yangtze civilizations arose millennia before the Shang. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is among the world's oldest civilizations and is regarded as one of the cradles of civilization.

Dragon

Dragon

A dragon is a reptilian legendary creature that appears in the folklore of many cultures worldwide. Beliefs about dragons vary considerably through regions, but dragons in western cultures since the High Middle Ages have often been depicted as winged, horned, and capable of breathing fire. Dragons in eastern cultures are usually depicted as wingless, four-legged, serpentine creatures with above-average intelligence. Commonalities between dragons' traits are often a hybridization of feline, reptilian, and avian features. Scholars believe huge extinct or migrating crocodiles bear the closest resemblance, especially when encountered in forested or swampy areas, and are most likely the template of modern Oriental dragon imagery.

Fenghuang

Fenghuang

Fènghuáng are mythological birds found in Sinospheric mythology that reign over all other birds. The males were originally called fèng and the females huáng, but this distinction of gender is often no longer made and they are blurred into a single feminine entity so that the bird can be paired with the Chinese dragon, which is traditionally deemed male.

Source: "Tiger", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 26th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger.

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References
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