the magnificent tiger, Panthera tigris (Linnaeus), the
national animal of India, is a rich-coloured well-striped
animal with a short coat. The combination of grace, strength,
agility and enormous power has earned the tiger great
respect and high esteem. Out of the eight races of the
species known, the Indian race,the Royal Bengal Tiger
is found throughout the country (except the north-western
region) and also in the neighbouring countries like Nepal,
Bhutan and Bangladesh. To check the dwindling population
of tigers in India, which came down to just 1,827 in 1971,
'Project Tiger' was launched in April, 1973.
Since then, the tiger population has shown a gradual increase
and the census of 1993 puts the tiger population of the
country at 3,750. So far, 23 tiger reserves have been
established in the country under this project, covering
an area of 33,406 sq. km.