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ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - A - THE TIGER (Panthera tigris) - Printable Version

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RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - A - TIGERS (Panthera tigris) - peter - 04-13-2015

Pod, I propose to ask him if he knows about an institution that collects data (weights and measurements) of Indian tigers? If not, he might know a biologist who does. We're looking for a specialist with real weights and measurements, not guesstimates. And, if possible, places, dates and the biologists involved.   

Another question would be if there are differences between young adults and mature tigers on one hand and residents and transients on the other. My guess is most transients would be young adults and displaced males.

The last question is if he knows about regional differences. And Kazirangha tigers in particular. Tell him about Sunquist's average for Royal Chitwan tigers and the average of Nagarahole tigers Ullas Karanth found.     

I propose you contact him, as you're the one he knows. We want to prevent overrunning the poor man, of course.


RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - A - TIGERS (Panthera tigris) - Kingtheropod - 04-13-2015

(04-13-2015, 11:23 AM)'peter' Wrote: Pod, I propose to ask him if he knows about an institution that collects data (weights and measurements) of Indian tigers? If not, he might know a biologist who does. We're looking for a specialist with real weights and measurements, not guesstimates. And, if possible, places, dates and the biologists involved.   

Another question would be if there are differences between young adults and mature tigers on one hand and residents and transients on the other. My guess is most transients would be young adults and displaced males.

The last question is if he knows about regional differences. And Kazirangha tigers in particular. Tell him about Sunquist's average for Royal Chitwan tigers and the average of Nagarahole tigers Ullas Karanth found.     

I propose you contact him, as you're the one he knows. We want to prevent overrunning the poor man, of course.

 


Hello peter,

Yes, but unfortunately, they don't seem interested in giving out that information. However, I have confirmed that the tiger he meantions as 220 kg is the weight of an animal that was darted recently.

I'm still waiting for another response.
 


RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - A - TIGERS (Panthera tigris) - peter - 04-13-2015

Just ask the questions and tell them the reason is our forum wants to prevent the public being misinformed about the size of wild Indian tigers. That should do it, I hope.

If they don't want to answer for some reason, we'll accept it and leave it at that. We don't want the forum getting a bad reputation.

Many thanks for the effort on behalf of all of us.


RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - A - TIGERS (Panthera tigris) - Roflcopters - 04-13-2015

KingT, Dr.Bilal habib is the same guy that radio-collared Gabbar and Choti tara from Tadoba and gave the weight estimates of 185kg for male and 85kg female. 


RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - A - TIGERS (Panthera tigris) - Kingtheropod - 04-13-2015

(04-13-2015, 07:19 PM)'Roflcopters' Wrote: KingT, Dr.Bilal habib is the same guy that radio-collared Gabbar and Choti tara from Tadoba and gave the weight estimates of 185kg for male and 85kg female. 


 


Yes, thats why his average of 185 is meaningless. I have however found something even more helpful...

I contacted globaltiger forum and they gave me this information about Dr. Jhala study...


*This image is copyright of its original author

 

Global tiger forum says that the weights of tigers in their study are similar to the average weights of other tigers from across india (Not including Sunderbans).


RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - A - TIGERS (Panthera tigris) - tigerluver - 04-13-2015

It'll be next to impossible to get individual weights. The author loses publication opportunities when giving specifics and that's why sometimes one may get a vague reply, but when asking for specifics there's no response. In my experience, scientists won't share anything even with us in the same field with research goals. An understandable approach by the authors, all prospective publishers need to protect their work and they should get the fruits of their labor first. 


RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - A - TIGERS (Panthera tigris) - Roflcopters - 04-14-2015

Nepal

In the seventies of the last century, 7 Royal Chitwan male tigers averaged 221 kg. (range 200-261 kg.). Of these, one (the 200 kg. tiger) was a young adult, whereas the heaviest, the Sauraha male tiger, was estimated. They had to, because he bottomed a 500-pound scale when he was an adult and a 600-pound scale when he was a bit older.

The average of Chitwan males (221 kg.) was more impressive than the average of 18 male tigers weighed by Hewett in north India and Nepal about a century ago (197-198 kg.). However. The tigers actually weighed by Hewett were quite a bit shorter than those not weighed. As longer tigers were considerably heavier than shorter tigers in those days (over a 100 pounds), I decided for a calculation of all tigers Hewett shot. The result was about 480 pounds, meaning the difference between then and now was very limited.

I know Hewett's tigers were not adjusted. Same for Sunquists tigers, I think. If we adopt 480 pounds for an average male and deduct 60 pounds (in Cooch Behar, gorged male tigers were 60 pounds heavier than empty tigers of similar length), we get to 420 pounds or thereabout. As this would be as incorrect as not adjusting at all, I propose to take 450 pounds (204,12 kg.) for now to work with.


Nagarahole

There's not that much on tigers in southwest India a century ago. I'm not aware of any average. I do know, however, that those in the know agreed they were a bit shorter than tigers in central and north India. Shorter, but bigger, some said in a debate on methods a long time ago. Any proof? Yes. I posted on Old One Eye, the Wiele tiger and two males shot by Meinertzhagen. Than there's R.G. Burton's book 'A Book on Man-Eaters'. His largest, 9.8 'between pegs', easily bottomed a 500-pound scale. There's quite a bit more suggesting tigers in the southwest were big at times. In the debate I referred to, a very big male shot in southern India was compared to a much longer male shot in Bengal. The longer tiger was dwarfed by the big tiger shot in south India. Than there's the photograph of the tigers shot in Kerala. All this suggests big tigers were there a century ago.

Anything reliable on today's tigers in south India? Yes. There's Ullas Karanth. Three males averaged 298,00 cm. 'between pegs' and 217-218 kg. Adjusted. As big as large males shot a century ago. Anything about averages? No.   

Anything on southern India in general? Those in the southeast, central parts of south India and the Deccan were a bit smaller than  central India tigers, but not much. Exceptions to the general rule, however, were common. There's plenty of reliable records of males reaching and exceeding 10 feet 'between pegs' (up to 10.2).  


Central India

We're familiar with Dunbar Brander's average (420 pounds for 42 males), but there's quite a bit more on central India. Half a century before Brander entered India, Forest Officers trained in the UK made their appearance. For many years, they traveled all over India. At the end of the 20th century, they wrote about the things they saw. To inform the public.

A century and a half later, everything they produced was dismissed. By biologists. And forum owners and posters who probably never saw a wild tiger in their life, let alone hunt one with over a hundred human scalps to his credit. Yes, I was talking about the one who calls himself Taipan and people like him. There are quite many. Just imagine. Well-trained and very experienced men who saw things we will never see dismissed as unreliable crappers by those who probably never leave their screen for longer than a few days. New dimensions in arrogance.

At any rate. Everything I have on central India suggests tigers 100-150 years ago were about similar to today's tigers. Today's tigers, judging from the info on Pench and a few other reserves, seem to be heavier. The reason is a very limited amount of space and severe competition, probably resulting in more all-out's and victims than a century ago. One would expect to see more reports on deadly battles, victims and, as a result, extra-large residents after some decades and we are not disappointed. Wild Indian tigers are the biggest wild cats today, with some individuals bottoming a 600-pound scale. This in spite of very low numbers.

How to grow a giant wild cat from the ground? You breed them in well-protected and well-stocked reserves surrounded by 1.2 billion humans and you do not interfere.

These remarks are not about dismissing the Indians. I think it is quite something that they're willing to make room for tigers. It also has to be mentioned that they managed to counter poachers. I can only get to 'well done' and that would be an understatement. Indians should be proud, I think. Same for the Russians. But it is a fact we're all waiting for the inevitable to happen.        

 
Conclusions 

I agree with Copters in that the difference between then and now most probably is quite limited, at least in north and northwest India. If today's tigers are a bit heavier, it probably is a result of well-stocked reserves, population growth, nowhere to go and plenty of deadly battles. From a distance, India, for tigers, almost compares to a facility breeding gladiators who will perform in the Roman Circus at one day. Only the best and the most tenacious will make it and it will show in size. If the trend continues, captive Indian tigers, one day in the near future, will compare to Sunderban tigers when they're faced with their wild relatives.

Some centuries ago, in northeast China (close to the border with Korea and Russia), there really was an imperial hunting reserve. Not one was allowed in and only the emperor did a bit of shooting every now and then. The animals, protected for centuries, took their chance. Tigers evolved into a large subspecies producing freaks at an alarming rate. But biologists no doubt will produce a more logical reason for the size mentioned in some old books. It starts with adding 'alleged' before size. Than 11 inches per foot are added and Bergman is introduced. Before you know it there's dismissals all over the place. Just joking, of course.

 
Picture gallery

In order to wind it up, a few pictures from then. You're familiar with them, but I want to underline tigers in India produced outsized specimens well before isolation and protected reserves started.


a - Ajanti, central India, 1940

This man-eater really preferred beef, but he was pragmatic and humans were easy to hunt. He was exactly 10 feet 'between pegs'. The weight was estimated at 600 pounds, but part of it was from the ox he consumed close to the road where he was shot. Shot from a cart, just imagine. Him, the giant of Ajanti. My guess was he had lost all respect for humans.

I think 600 was a bit over the top, but it was a robust and heavy-skulled male tiger for sure:  



*This image is copyright of its original author


   
b - Assam, India (Bengt Berg)

The Killer of Men, they called him. He probably was born and raised in Bhutan. When visiting relatives in Assam, he had to take a break to eat. No restaurants. He then decided to take the biggest wild buffalo he could find. No epic struggle followed. It was about applying the right technique. You come from a angle, hook your fingers of one hand under the chin, topple the giant with your other and you pull while you toplle him over. This will result in a broken neck each and every time. At times, Berg found a giant buffalo with his horns nearly vertically buried in the sand. 

Berg could have shot him, but he didn't. He wanted the tiger to pass on his genes. The reason was Berg never saw a tiger even approaching the Killer of Men in size. And he shot one in Bengal of 565 pounds. This means the Bhutan tiger was well over 600 pounds. Berg was amazed at the bulk of the tiger. To us, it's just another male tiger. But he definitely wasn't. This tiger probably was larger than the Sauraha tiger:       



*This image is copyright of its original author

 

I'm not sure, but this could have been one of the buffalo's he killed:



*This image is copyright of its original author



A wild male buffalo, to be sure, can get to 2000 pounds:



*This image is copyright of its original author



c - Central India, source unknown (after WWII)

I've no idea about the size of this tiger, but it was a large animal. Most photographs show a tiger up front and the hunter posing behind him. This will result in a larger than life tiger. In this photograph, however, the hunter is up front. In spite of that, he was dwarfed by the tiger. Have a good look at the skull and than ask yourself why you won't find skulls of this size in museums:



*This image is copyright of its original author



d - Kumaon, 1930 (Jim Corbett)

This was the largest tiger Jim Corbett saw. And they were large to begin with in Kumaon, as Carrington (a Forest Officer who wrote a book about man-eaters he shot in that part of India) confirmed. One of the males he shot was just over 10 feet 'between pegs', but my guess is he wasn't as big as the 'Bachelor of Powalgarh'. As big as a donkey, said one hunter after him said when he saw him at close range. But he was larger. At 10.7 'over curves', he probably was at least 10.2 'between pegs'. Said those who had measured tigers both 'over curves' and 'between pegs' in northern India. Similar in size to the Sauraha male, but a bit bigger, I think.

Hewett, before Corbett published, also shot tigers in Nepal. He reported about tigers shot in Nepal. They averaged a bit over 10.2 'over curves' (longest just over 10.5). Very long, probably unsurpassed anywhere in India. Some males no doubt exceeded 600 pounds, just like the tigers weighed by Sunquist and Dinerstein many years later:     



*This image is copyright of its original author

 

e - Central India, Forsyth

Forsyth was as experienced as they come. Year after year, he roamed the forests of India. He didn´t go for extra-large tigers, but stumbled upon them every now and then. The one below, 10.1 'between pegs' and touching 700 pounds (at least), probably was barely able to walk, but obesity didn't prevent him from adding pound after pound over the years.

Cattle tigers were large as a rule, because they thrived on beef. While some forum owners would start dismissing right away, I would like to add that Bazé, in Vietnam, shot a male of 338 cm. 'over curves' (11.1) who was 260 kg. He only hunted the largest wild herbivores. Big is big and big tigers hunt big animals, cattle if available and wild herbivores when not:    



*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author



f - Central India, Hicks (20th century)

Another report of a Forest Officer who shot a tiger of about 600 pounds with a body girth that would fit a good male brown bear. The tiger wasn´t extra-large, but very heavy:



*This image is copyright of its original author



g - Mysore, Hicks (20th century)

The largest he shot in Mysore, although a bit shorter than the one above, was bigger. This tiger also was bigger than the Sauraha tiger (skull, neck and chest): 



*This image is copyright of its original author



h - Mysore, Wiele (1900-1910)

The Luck Valley tiger. Wiele didn't give the length or weight of the tiger, but it was a very large male who had been known for about 20 years when he was shot. The gun is a Mauser and the tiger was shot between 1900-1910. I added a photograph of 2 men holding the rifle for comparison:



*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author



i - Northwest India, Singh (1937)

I'm not sure, but this could be the 590-pound tiger mentioned by K. Singh:



*This image is copyright of its original author



j - Nepal, Sunquist (1975-1976)

Compare this male (the Sauraha tiger) to what you saw above:



*This image is copyright of its original author



k - Central India

This is Madla, who was estimated at about 250 kg.:



*This image is copyright of its original author



l - Nepal, first decades of the 20th century (the Maharajah of Nepal)

The Maharajah shot different males who reached 10.8 'over curves'. This, I think, could be one of them. He's big as well:



*This image is copyright of its original author



m - Southwest India (Niligiris)

Old One Eye. This tiger, estimated at 700 pounds (after a heavy meal), was 11.0 'over curves':



*This image is copyright of its original author



n - Kerala, source unknown

The male is a very big animal:



*This image is copyright of its original author



o - Assam, early twenties of the last century

Nothing special, many posters said. I think two tigers were special for sure:



*This image is copyright of its original author



p - Upper Burma, Thom (first decades of the 20th century)

This male was 9.8 'between pegs'. Heavier than all tigers he saw (shot) in India, he wrote:

 
 
*This image is copyright of its original author



I could continue for some time, but it would be more of the same. The conclusion is India had large tigers a century ago. In the 19th century, and before 1860 to be more precise, extra-large tigers were more common and they also were larger than the giants of today. This is the conclusion of all who were had experience. I take them way more serious than those dismissing them today. 

That India still produces 10 feet tigers exceeding 600 pounds, in spite of the very low numbers and the lack of gene exchange, tells you something about the Indian tiger.

Small, well-stocked, well-protected reserves and no room to accomodate new tigers will produce survivors and gladiators in the long run. Maybe they will compare to the giants seen in the Imperial Hunting Reserve in northeast China a few hundred years ago, but my guess is the training they get will produce more stocky animals. Athletic, but stocky. 

Another gladiator, the bear, still gets to the size of historic giants, but a cat needs to keep speed and athleticism. If males they average about 450 pounds today, my guess is they could increase to about 480 in the near future. If they average over 500, chances are they will have to sacrifice some of their qualities. Evolution will say no, as a cat is a hunter.


RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - A - TIGERS (Panthera tigris) - peter - 04-14-2015

Copters,

When replying to your post on the weight of the young male tiger, things, ehhh, got a bit out of hand. I quoted your post, meaning it was on top of the post. When I posted my reply, however, I noticed the identities had been swapped, meaning my post was posted under your name. In order to prevent questions, I decided to delete it. This means your post also was deleted. Sorry about that. Maybe you can give it another try?  

My response wasn't about the weight of the young male tiger, but about your remark on then and now. Not much to choose, you wrote. I partly agree. I didn't see any difference between then and now in north and northwest India. South, central and northeast India, however, could be a bit different. The Nagarahole male tigers measured and weighed by Ullas Karanth in the nineties of the last century averaged 298,00 cm. and 217-218 kg. (adjusted). My guess is they are a bit heavier than a century ago. Same for central and northeast India. The question is why. 

Central India has many smallish reserves, excellent conditions and little or no space to accomodate tigers outside the reserves. The result is conflict over space and quite many casualties. If this pattern continues for some time, the reserves might develop into a training facility for would-be gladiators preparing for their all-out in the Roman Circus. Only the best fighters will last long enough to pass on their genes. In the long run, this will probably result in slightly more robust tigers and more pronounced sexual dimorphy. And guess what? I don't think males will evolve into bear-tigers, but it's likely they adapted to the unslaught by adding a few extra pounds. Robusticy is mostly about size and extra weight will result in a larger size. My guess is the difference (in weight) between then and now in most parts of India would be about 5-10% (average 7.5%). This, of course, is just an assumption. 

Nagarahole is different. The reserves are larger and there are corridors, meaning conflicts over space would be less frequent and less serious. The large size of today's tigers, therefore, wouldn't be an adaption to conflict, but a result of diet. The average prey size of Nagarahole tigers is impressive. 

All in all, today's adult males could be a bit larger than a century ago. The reason is better conditions, larger prey animals and more competition. If they averaged about 195 kg. in (all of) India about a century ago (regional range 182-209 kg.), today's average, after adding 7,5% (the assumed increase in weight), would be 210-212 kg. (regional range 190-225 kg.). Tigresses most probably didn't change very much in the last century.  


RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - A - TIGERS (Panthera tigris) - sanjay - 04-14-2015

Rofls post is back, Can you guys confirm it?


RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - A - TIGERS (Panthera tigris) - peter - 04-14-2015

Most unfortunately only partly. When I saw our identities had been swapped, I deleted my post. I started from the top down, meaning Copters' post first. When I saw it was futile, I decided to delete all of it. You retrieved it, which is a miracle for a layman like myself. Well done!

Copters will have to rewrite his post. Unless you're able to retrieve his post as well. But you seem to be a magician.

Talking about magicians. There's a congress about the future of the internet soon in the Low Countries. One of the participants put it on the public agenda today by declaring the internet is severely treatened by those with less noble intentions. He said public authorities, countries and private companies are not prepared at all and concluded it's more than likely the internet will be closed completely some time soon. Many organisations and countries have had a taste when they were hacked and shut down in the last two years in particular.

As the world is more or less governed by the computer, chances are the modern world could collapse completely as a result. I got a taste of what he meant when a power plant collapsed a few weeks ago nearby. More than million people had no electricity for over two hours. Today, this would have disastrous consequences. No electricity = no time = no internet = no phone = no metro = no train = no television = no radio = no phone = no communication = no shops open = no food = the world in the sixties. Without food, of course. I don't mind, but neither do criminals. No phone = no police = your best chance.

Is it possible to prepare for situations described above? 


RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - A - TIGERS (Panthera tigris) - sanjay - 04-14-2015

Ha ha, Peter, What you are saying is correct, But you know still lot of population live without these facilities, they need only basic things, Air, food, etc..nothing more. So this will defiantly halt the world but will not be able to collapse the world, I strongly believed only natural catastrophic can destroy human on earth (that will happen for sure) and not any human made things,
Since human invention only lifted or changed the living style of human so collapsing of these thing will only degrade human life back to where they started.

Regarding Rofls post,
There is nothing left that I can bring back


RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - A - TIGERS (Panthera tigris) - peter - 04-14-2015

To be honest, Sanjay, I enjoyed the situation. It reminded me of the days long gone. In those days you had to do everything yourself. I didn't see a lot of obese people in those days, as cars were not often seen. They had to walk or take the bus. When you walk, you smell and feel the world. 

The changes I saw in the last decades definitely have a lot of advantages, like the internet, but there also are many disadvantages. One is that many alienate from the real world. A pity, as it is a really nice place of great beauty.   

I know you can't bring Copters' post back, but can you repost it under my identity? Poor Copters wouldn't be too enthousiastic about it. I mean, he's the modern tiger expert posting pictures of today's tigers, not those of a century ago.


RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - A - TIGERS (Panthera tigris) - sanjay - 04-14-2015

Yes, I agree, To be honest I would love to live in place which full of nature not facilities, The green, the jungle, the outing with friends in jungles etc...
If I manage to make any tour around the world in near future, I will prefer africa and other green dense forest with natural habitat instead of hi-tech cities.

Regarding post, Are you saying to repost post no. #547 with your name and remove the rofls name ?


RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - A - TIGERS (Panthera tigris) - peter - 04-14-2015

I agree. Seen one city, seen them all. Africa is something special. Enjoy it while you can.

Yes, repost it with my name. However. You have to add that it was a response to the previous post of Copters. This is the post that was lost. Apart from the 180 kg. immature male, Copters said that the differences between tigers then and now most probably were limited (if today's tigers would have been adjusted). I partly agree, but have a different view on south, central and northeast India.

I think it would be correct to pm Copters and telling him about the deleted post. Ask him to repost it.
 


RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - A - TIGERS (Panthera tigris) - GuateGojira - 04-14-2015

Just a few points to remember and/or to take in count:
 
1. The un-adjusted weight for Nepalese male tigers is of 235 kg, the figure of 221 kg is already adjusted by 14 kg, which was the average food intake of those tigers.
 
2. I have not read entirely the book of Hewett, but as far I know he doesn’t used baits for its tigers. In the story of the hunt of the 570 lb (259 kg) tiger, he just describe that they prepare a macan and the specimen arrived and was shoot, no baits are mentioned. It is correct to say that Hewett’s records don’t need to be adjusted? I think it is, but you (Peter) surely know more on his book.
 
3. There are several measurements of tigers in west-south India and they all match those of tigers in India and Nepal. The difference is in weight, I know of 7 males actually weighed from 1900 to 1995 and none of them surpassed 227 kg. It seems that these tigers are somewhat lighter than those of the Terai arc.
 
4. The size of the Bachelor of Powalgarh is, in fact, practically unreliable. Why??? Well, because total length in great cats is very deceptive to estimate the real size. Yes, that huge tiger measured about 310 cm between pegs, BUT how many is “body” and how many is “tail”??? We must remember the record of 302.3 cm of Brander, this tigers was “short” by any standard, but in fact, its head-body was of 221 cm, which is the record for any big cat ever captured-hunted in the wild!!! I think that the Bachelor was similar in size than the huge male tiger of Brander, but its tail was probably short, after all, the picture of the tiger is immense and surpass that of the Sauraha male by much.
 
5. Apart from the 590 lb (c.268 kg) tiger reported by Colonel Singh in his book “One man and a thousand tigers” from 1959, there is another 600 lb (272 kg) tiger hunted in the same region (Gwalior). Check this out:
 
*This image is copyright of its original author

The record is from 1914, but seems to be a reliable, and although the animal was measured "over the curves", we can estimate if at c.332 cm, which is the maximum reliably recorded for a tiger, between pegs.
 
This is the picture of the 590 lb (c.269 kg) and 349 cm (329 cm between pegs) tiger record from Singh:
 
*This image is copyright of its original author


There is no doubt that most Bengal tigers weight between 200 to 230 kg, but large males weight between 250 to 270 kg and exceptionally large specimens reached 290 -300 kg, like for example, the record of 705 lb (320 kg) male tiger from Smythies.