Tiger is the national animal of India. It is one of the biggest cat specie alive in earth. Though there are many subspecies- Panthera Tigris – the Royal Bengal tiger is India’s national animal. India has around nearly 3000 tigers across the country from snowy mountains of Arunachal Pradesh to Sunderbans- marshy mangroves in West Bengal. In Ranthambore near Rajasthan deserts too , there is a healthy population of this magnificent beast.

West Bengal has the highest population of tigers in India. It has around 100 tigers. But spotting them is a huge task with swamps and the jungle providing them the perfect camouflage.

The royal bengal tiger has three pigments variants- white tiger, golden tiger and black tiger.

White tiger is mostly found in Indian zoo. Nandan Kannan Zoo, Mysore Zoo, Vandalur Zoo.

There are over 100 white tigers that are bred in captivity.

There are around 50 tiger reserves in India

Nagarjuna-Srisailam Tiger reserve is the largest tiger reserve spread across 2595.72 square kilometers in the borders of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states.

“Project Tiger” was launched in the year 1973, to protect tigers. It has started with 9 tiger reserves and now it has reached number 50. The move was a timely one, to protect the fast depleting numbers of tigers across India, due to poaching and loss of forest space.

This a rare form of melanistic tiger, found in Simliphal Forest in Odisha.  They are not a separate species or sub-species of tigers. They are a distinct colour variant of the Bengal tiger, and their all-black colour is due to a melanistic pigmentation. .Such Black tigers have even been reported to have smaller bodies than regular tigers, probably because of inbreeding.

Source : Forest Department, Simlipal

This pigment variant of tiger became extinct in the wild in 1932 when the last two were shot in Mysore Pradesh, India. Now, they are traced in the year 1987. Golden Tiger has its white coat and gold patches due to an extremely rare colour variation caused by a recessive gene, now the gene is not found anymore.

Currently, there are estimates of 30 tigers in the world. In India, there are sightings of golden tiger in Kaziranga National Park in Assam.

Source : Tambako