For those who have dreamed of watching the majestic Tiger, a Tiger travel adventure through the beautiful forests and grasslands of India’s National Parks is a real adventure – as well as being a demonstration of how important the Tiger’s habitat is to the species. There are key aspects of the environment that are important for the animal’s survival, and the relationship between the two can be clearly seen on such a journey.
Rivers, Streams and Pools
As will be apparent to travelers who, while seeking the Tiger, travel through its habitat, the landscape is dotted with bodies of water – whether pools, streams, or the great rivers that meander across the Indian Subcontinent. Water is, of course, an important factor in sustaining the tropical ecosystem, but it is also important in the Tiger’s lifestyle.
Tigers are known to be powerful swimmers and water-lovers, able to swim across rivers as wide as 8 km. In the south, they even swim in the sea, and spend much of their day in the mangrove swamps that grow along the coast. This love of swimming is not innate, however, and tiger cubs are initially as reluctant as many other feline species to enter water.
A mother has to train her cubs, either by entering the water herself and calling them, or by picking them up and placing them in the water, until they are used to it; they are then ready to learn how to swim. This will serve them well in later life: the ability to, as a mature Tiger, travels both on land and in water is a useful one. It is also important for cooling, and adult tigers spend the hottest hours of the day alternately bathing and drying them off, a process that lets excess heat escape from their bodies.
Trees and Forests
The landscapes that greet the travelers, who, in their search for the Tiger, travel through India’s National Parks, tend to be various kinds of forest, interspersed with open grasslands. The forest trees are used by Tigers for a number of purposes, most obviously for camouflage, but also for shelter, and marking territory – a Tiger might scratch or leave scent deposits on a tree trunk to warn other Tigers away from its range.
They can also climb trees, but as adults do not possess the agility to do so easily; as cubs and young Tigers, however, they are able to climb with ease and have been known to hunt in trees, as Leopards do. Curious and keen to explore, young Tigers learn useful skills while tree-climbing, and also gain a better understanding of their environment, all of which is useful later in life even when they are no longer so readily able to climb trees.