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International Tiger Day 2019: 10 Myths That You Shouldn't Believe

Listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 1986, the 20th century has seen a loss of over 95 percent of the world's wild tiger population.

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Updated:July 29, 2019, 11:27 AM IST
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International Tiger Day 2019: 10 Myths That You Shouldn't Believe
Image of an eight-year-old Royal Bengal Tiger. (Photo: Reuters)

The tiger once roamed freely from the Eastern Antolia Region in the west to the Amur River basin, and in the south from the foothills of the Himalayas to Bali in the Sunda Islands. While it has prominently been featured in ancient mythology, folklore, literature and movies, there has been a sharp decline in tiger populations across the world.

Listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 1986, the 20th century has seen a loss of over 95 per cent of the world's wild tiger population. From poaching and illegal trade, habitat loss, climate change and diseases, several factors have led to the decline in tiger population, including myths that cause the general population to fear the magnificent beast.

As the world celebrated International Tiger Day 2019, here's debunking a few tiger myths:

Tigers originated from Africa: Interestingly, while tigers may be found in Africa today, modern tigers are all descendants of tigers from Asia. Wild tigers never lived in Africa.

Modern tigers descended from prehistoric saber-tooth tigers: Modern tigers are not descendants from prehistoric saber-tooth tigers and in fact they are not even closely related. In fact, the tiger's closest living relatives were previously thought to be the Panthera species lion, leopard and jaguar. However, results of genetic analysis indicate about 2.88 million years ago, the tiger and the snow leopard lineages diverged from the other Panthera species, and that both may be more closely related to each other than to the others.

White tigers are albino tigers: White tigers are not albino tigers or a separate subspecies of tiger, they are a rare form of Bengal Tigers that possess a recessive gene which makes them lighter.

Tigers live in groups: The big cats are solitary animals and for the most part remain aloof from one another. Only tigresses with babies are seen with cubs for the first two years.

Tigers prey on humans: They do not view humans as prey but will attack if threatened. When they do hunt humans, it is because of absence of their regular prey due to habitat loss.

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| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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