Only 100 Bengal Tigers Left in Famed Sundarbans

Only 100 Bengal Tigers Left in Famed Sundarbans

Bangladesh has only about 100 tigers living in the world's largest mangrove forest, far fewer of the endangered animals than previously thought, following a recent survey, a top forestry official said Monday.

Some 440 tigers were recorded during the previous census conducted in 2004 in the World Heritage-listed Sundarbans, one of the world's last remaining habitats for the big cats.

But experts said better methodology was the reason for the huge drop in the numbers, saying hidden cameras used this time around, rather than pug marks, gave a much more accurate figure.
Tapan Kumar Dey, analysis of camera footage from the year-long survey that ended in April found numbers ranged between 83 and 130, giving an average of 106.

"So plus or minus we have around 106 tigers in our parts of the Sundarbans. It's a more accurate figure," Dey told AFP of the survey, which has not yet been publicly released.

About 74 tigers have previously been counted on the Indian side of the Sundarbans, which makes up nearly 40 percent of the forest straddling both countries over 10,000 square kilometres (3,860 square miles).

Bengal tigers live mainly in India, where nationwide there are 2,226, with smaller populations in Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Myanmar.

Monirul Khan, a zoology professor at Bangladesh's Jahangirnagar University and the nation's foremost tiger expert, said the new survey confirmed his worst fears.

"It seems the population has declined (in the past) to more than what we had feared," Khan said, saying his studies showed the figure was no more than 200.

Khan said the government needed to do more to protect the animals, whose numbers were shrinking because of poaching and rapid development on the edge of the forest.

The World Wildlife Fund says tigers worldwide are in serious danger of becoming extinct in the wild. Their numbers have fallen from 100,000 in 1900 to around 3,200 now.

Officials have conceded that the pugmark tracking system used in 2004 was unreliable and cameras were installed in trees throughout the forest for the latest survey.

Y.V. Jhala, professor at the Wildlife Institute of India, told AFP the new figure was the "reality".

"The 440 figure was a myth and an imagination. Bangladesh parts of the Sundarbans with its prey size can support up to 200 tigers," he said, also urging authorities to act to better protect the cats.



The Bengal tiger, or Royal Bengal tiger, roams a wide range of habitats including high altitudes, tropical and subtropical rainforests, mangroves, and grasslands. They are primarily found in parts of India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
  • Male Bengal tigers measure 8 to 10 ft (2 to 3m) in length, and can weigh from 440-650 lb (200-300kg).
  •  Female Bengal tigers measure from around 8 to almost 9 ft (2.5 to 2.6 m) and weigh in around 220 to 400 lb (100 to 181 kg).
All white tigers are a variation in color of the Bengal tiger, some tigers have been reported that are white with or without black stripes.

Bengal tigers hunt medium and large-sized animals, such as wild boar, badgers, water buffaloes, deer goats and have been know to prey on small elephants and rhino calves. They are know for their power and in one incident a Bengal tiger was reported dragging away a dead gaur which 13 men were not able to move.

As a gaur can weigh 1 ton or more, it would mean the tiger had to be able to drag something 5 times its own weight.

Bengal tigers hunt mostly at night, killing their prey by severing the spinal cord, or by inflicting a suffocation bite (usually for larger prey).

As with other species of tigers, habitat loss and poaching are key threats to the survival of the Bengal tiger. They are not only killed for their skin and for their body parts which are used to make traditional Asian medicines.

The Bengal Tigers

Bengal Tiger

Panthera tigris tigris


There were eight tiger subspecies at one time, but three became extinct during the 20th century. Over the last 100 years, hunting and forest destruction have reduced tiger populations from hundreds of thousands of animals to perhaps fewer than 2,500. Tigers are hunted as trophies, and also for body parts that are used in traditional Chinese medicine. All five remaining tiger subspecies are endangered, and many protection programs are in place.

Bengal tigers live in India and are sometimes called Indian tigers. They are the most common tiger and number about half of all wild tigers. Over many centuries they have become an important part of Indian tradition and lore.


Tigers live alone and aggressively scent-mark large territories to keep their rivals away. They are powerful nocturnal hunters that travel many miles to find buffalo, deer, wild pigs, and other large mammals. Tigers use their distinctive coats as camouflage (no two have exactly the same stripes). They lie in wait and creep close enough to attack their victims with a quick spring and a fatal pounce. A hungry tiger can eat as much as 60 pounds (27 kilograms) in one night, though they usually eat less.

Despite their fearsome reputation, most tigers avoid humans; however, a few do become dangerous maneaters. These animals are often sick and unable to hunt normally, or live in an area where their traditional prey has vanished.

Females give birth to litters of two to six cubs, which they raise with little or no help from the male. Cubs cannot hunt until they are 18 months old and remain with their mothers for two to three years, when they disperse to find their own territory.

Fast Facts

Average life span in the wild:
8 to 10 years
Head and body, 5 to 6 ft (1.5 to 1.8 m); tail, 2 to 3 ft (0.6 to 0.9 m)
240 to 500 lbs (109 to 227 kg)
Did you know?
A tiger's roar can be heard as far as 2 mi (3 km) away.
Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:

Current Status of Wild Tigers:

Current Status of Wild Tigers:
Bengal tigers minimum estimate is around 2,500 tigers and or 3,700 tigers maximum living in this world.

Tiger Sub-Species

Minimum Estimate

Maximum Estimate
Bengal Tiger
Indo-Chinese Tiger

Sumatran Tiger

Siberian Tiger

South Chinese Tiger

Caspian Tiger

Javan Tiger

Balinese Tiger

what-are-bengal-tigers-like ?

What Are Bengal Tigers Like?

What Are Bengal Tigers Like?

The Bengal tiger, also known as the Royal Bengal tiger, is the most numerous of six tiger subspecies still living on Earth. These beautiful big cats are endangered, however, with fewer than 2,000 animals remaining in the wild. Bengal tigers grow to 13 feet (4 meters) long, and males weigh between 400 and 675 pounds (181-376 kilograms). Female tigers are generally smaller. A Bengal tiger’s coat is a yellow to light orange, with stripes that range from dark brown to black. The tiger’s belly is white, and its tail is white with black rings. A rare mutation of the Bengal subspecies, the white tiger, has dark brown or reddish brown stripes on a white background.

What Do Bengal Tigers Eat?

What Do Bengal Tigers Eat?

Bengal tigers are strict carnivores, hunting a variety of animals including buffalo, deer, wild boar and other large mammals. When human settlements come too close to a tiger’s territory, tigers also may prey on goats and cattle. Occupying a niche at the top of the food chain, Bengal tigers have also been known to eat other predators such as leopards, cheetahs, wolves and bears.

What is the difference between Bengal Tiger and Sumatran Tigers?

What is the difference between Bengal Tiger and Sumatran Tigers?

• Bengal and Sumatran tigers are two subspecies of the same species.

• They naturally range in two different regions of Asia.

• Bengali tiger has proven themselves with their abilities to survive in a range of habitats including cold mountains and hot mangroves. However, Sumatran subspecies range mostly in forested areas.

• Bengal tiger is significantly bigger in size and weight than in Sumatran tigers. Sumatran tiger is the smallest tiger in their family.

• The current population of Bengal tiger is about 2000, but Sumatran tiger are only 300 survivors presently. The IUCN has categorized Bengal and Sumatran tigers as endangered and critically endangered respectively.

• The strip of the coat of the Bengal tiger is thicker than in Sumatran tiger.

• Bengal tiger is a national animal of a country but Sumatran tiger has not gain that kind of value. However, both these are flagship species.

Read more: