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Program Big Cats Initiative

  • Bengal (Indian) tigers account for about half of the world's wild tigers. Despite their status as an icon of India, Bengal tigers are endangered. The largest population of Bengal tigers lives in the Sundarbans National Park and Tiger Reserve. The reserve covers 8,000 square miles of densely forested river delta. It spans the border of India and Bangladesh. As human populations increase and habitat is destroyed, competition between humans and Bengal tigers increases. The reserve's swamps lack an abundance of the tiger's natural prey—buffalo, deer, wild pigs, and other large mammals. Thus, humans have become easy targets for the hungry predators. On average, tigers kill 50 people in the reserve each year. Conservation efforts within the reserve help protect the Bengal tiger population. Tigers are still threatened by illegal poaching and retaliatory killings resulting from human-tiger conflicts in the wild.

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