Tigers are the largest members of the cat family and are renowned for their power and strength, not to mention their beautiful markings.
Over the last 100 years, hunting and forest destruction have reduced tiger populations from hundreds of thousands of animals to perhaps fewer than 1,500. These magnificent creatures are hunted as trophies, and also for body parts that are used in traditional Asian medicine.
The Bengal tiger, although the most common sub species, representing around half of all wild tigers, is classified by the IUCN as 'Endangered'.
As the Bengal tiger lives in India, it is sometimes referred to as the Indian tiger. Over many centuries they have become an important part of Indian tradition and folklore.
It mostly inhabits the dry and wet deciduous forests of central and south India, the Terai-Duar grassland and the forests of the Himalayan foothills, and the temperate forests of Bhutan. The mangroves of the Sunderban (shared between Bangladesh and India) are the only mangrove forests where tigers are found.
On average the male Bengal tiger measures two to three metres in length, and can weigh from 200 to 300 kilograms. Female Bengal tigers measure around two and a half metres and weigh in at around 100 to 181 kilograms. Bengal tigers hunt medium and large-sized animals, such as wild boar, badgers, water buffaloes, deer, and goats and have been known to prey on small elephants and rhino calves.