INDIAN NATIONAL ANIMAL
NATIONAL ANIMAL OF INDIA – TIGER
The Bengal tiger can be found throughout the country except in the north-western region. It has been a national symbol of India since about the 25th century BCE when it was displayed on the Pashupati seal of the Indus Valley Civilisation. On the seal, the tiger, being the largest, represents the Yogi Shiva’s people. The tiger was later the symbol of the Chola Empire from 300 CE to 1279 CE and is now designated as the official animal of India. The tiger is the symbol of India’s wealth of wildlife. The magnificent tiger, Panthera tigris, is a striped animal, beautiful and royal. It has a thick yellow coat of fur with dark stripes. The combination of grace, strength, agility and enormous power has earned the tiger its pride of place as the national animal of India.
The Bengal tiger, or Royal Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), is a tiger subspecies native to India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan, and has been classified as endangered by IUCN as the population is estimated at fewer than 2,500 individuals with a decreasing trend. None of the Tiger Conservation Landscapes within the Bengal’s tiger range are large enough to support an effective population size of 250. The Bengal tiger is the most numerous of the tiger subspecies — with populations estimated at 1,706 in India, 200 in Bangladesh, 155 in Nepal and 67–81 in Bhutan.
Its coat is a yellow to light orange, and the stripes range from dark brown to black; the belly is white, and the tail is white with black rings. A mutation of the Bengal subspecies, the white tiger, has dark brown or reddish brown stripes on a white background, and some are entirely white. Black tigers have tawny, yellow or white stripes on a black background color. The total body length, including the tail, of males is 270 to 310 cm (110 to 120 in), while females are 240 to 265 cm (94 to 104 in). The average weight of males is 221.2 kg (488 lb), while that of females is 139.7 kg (308 lb).