Lord of the Indian Jungles, The Royal Bengal Tiger Coffee Mug
The Bengal Tiger, or Royal Bengal is a subspecies of tiger primarily found in Bangladesh, India, and also Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan, Myanmar and southern Tibet. It is the most common tiger subspecies, living in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, subtropical and tropical rain forests, scrub forests, wet and dry deciduous forests, and mangroves.
Since the early 1990s the tiger population has begun to decline again, due to habitat destruction and large-scale poaching for tiger skins and bones. The Bangladeshi government is trying hard to show the world that the tiger is thriving in Bangladesh, often using controversial techniques like taking molds of paw prints to track tiger populations. It was recently discovered that tigers have been wiped out from one of Project Tiger's leading sanctuaries, Sariska.
The current population of wild Bengal tigers in the Indian subcontinent is now estimated to be between 1,300 and 1,500 which is less than half of the previous estimate of 3,000-4,500 tigers. This estimate is based on a state-by-state census conducted in India in 2001. Today's reports show there are fewer than 200 tigers left in the wild.
Habitat losses and the extremely large scale incidences of poaching are serious threats to species survival. Poachers kill tigers not only for their pelts, but also for body parts used to make various traditional East Asian medicines. Other factors contributing to their loss are urbanization and revenge killing. Farmers blame tigers for killing cattle and will shoot them. Poachers also kill tigers for their bones and teeth to make medicines that are alleged to provide the tiger's strength. The hunting for Chinese medicine and fur is the biggest cause of decline of the tigers. In India, retired Indian Army personnel are being recruited to save the Bengal tiger from poaching gangs.