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Modern weights and measurements on wild tigers

United States Pckts Offline
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( This post was last modified: 05-18-2017, 04:19 AM by Pckts )

I'm a bit skeptical on the 230kg claim, who weighed them and when, cause the only time I remember them being weighed was a year or two ago when they were still young and under 150kg.
Also, if one was found buried, I'd assume decomposition set in so most likely he wasn't weighed then.
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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Canada Kingtheropod Offline
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(05-18-2017, 03:58 AM)Pckts Wrote: I'm a bit skeptical on the 230kg claim, who weighed them and when, cause the only time I remember them being weighed was a year or two ago when they were still young and under 150kg.
Also, if one was found buried, I'd  assume decomposition set in so most likely he wasn't weighed then.

I think he was weighed when they collared him. He was collared twice so I assume the 230 kg figure is from his second radio collaring.
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Canada Shardul Offline
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(05-18-2017, 03:58 AM)Pckts Wrote: I'm a bit skeptical on the 230kg claim, who weighed them and when, cause the only time I remember them being weighed was a year or two ago when they were still young and under 150kg.
Also, if one was found buried, I'd  assume decomposition set in so most likely he wasn't weighed then.

As mentioned in the article, by Dr. Bilal Habib, latest in Dec 2016 and before that in Feb 2016. Bilal Habib is the same scientist from WII who weighed Gabbar (185 kg), Choti tara (85 kg), Jai (238 kg), so he is pretty credible and as evident from the weights, not prone to making any exaggerations.
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United States Pckts Offline
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( This post was last modified: 05-19-2017, 04:54 AM by Pckts )

Dr. Habib weighed Jai at 220kg empty, I'm not sure where the 238kg claim from. I posted the email from him to me on here. I believe he also weighed jais two sub adults around 130kg ish a while back, I forget the exact number. That's why I'm skeptical of where the 230kg came from.
@Shardul
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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Canada Shardul Offline
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(05-19-2017, 04:51 AM)Pckts Wrote: Dr. Habib weighed Jai at 220kg empty, I'm not sure where the 238kg claim from. I posted the email from him to me on here. I believe he also weighed jais two sub adults around 130kg ish a while back, I forget the exact number. That's why I'm skeptical of where the 230kg came from.
@Shardul

238 with weighing scales- 220 kg adjusted.

When the sub adults were weighed the first time, they were lass than 2 years old. In Dec 2016, they were 3. Tigers grow really fast in that period.
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United States Pckts Offline
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Absolutely, I was just curious if the 230kg could be confirmed or if it was an estimate.
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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India Rishi Offline
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(05-19-2017, 05:26 AM)Pckts Wrote: Absolutely, I was just curious if the 230kg could be confirmed or if it was an estimate.

I could mesage Dr. Habib on Facebook...
"Everything not saved will be lost."

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Canada Dr Panthera Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-15-2017, 01:08 AM by Dr Panthera Edit Reason: Addition )

(12-20-2016, 12:11 PM)peter Wrote: In Russia, young males disperse between 18-24 months of age. In India, they seem to disperse between 24-30 months. This although conditions in India are better. The most likely reason is small reserves, no buffer zones and intense competition. For this reason, young males can be as heavy as mature animals.    

My advice is to distinguish between adolescents (2-3), young adults (4-5), prime males (6-10) and old tigers (11 and over). In skulls, the distinction between age classes often is well visible.

When you have information about individuals, try to contact those in the know to check what you have (Copters proved it can be done). Maybe they can tell you a bit more about fluctuations (collars often are replaced) and it's possible they also have info about total length. When you have weights, try to find out if the tigers were empty or not when they were weighed. Also try to find out a bit more about the scales used.

In order to get to an assessment, we need large samples. The larger the sample, the more reliable the table. My guess is there are 500-800 adult male tigers in India today. Read a bit about sample size, statistics and conclusions.          

When done, also try to get to a conclusion on reliability (referring to the sources used). I'd distinguish between low, medium and high.

And then there's regions. Based on old records, there could be pronounced differences between the elevated Himalayas (the Terai, Nepal and Bhutan), the alluvial floodplains in the northeast (like Kazirangha), the wetlands in the Ganges and Bhramaputra delta (the Sunderbans), the highlands of central and central-eastern India (like Kanha), the plateau of southern India (the Deccan) and southwestern India (the western Ghats).   

The reason to publish tables in WildFact is a lack of data in peer-reviewed documents. In some documents, the data are unreliable because weights were adjusted. Sizewise, peer-reviewed not always has meaning. The reason is only few biologists are interested in size (a lack of interest can result in a lack of knowledge). This is the reason old data are used so often. Also remember most samples are small, which could result in bias.   

Our aim is to collect data and enable readers to get to an opinion. What we don't want, is tables based on newspaper reports only. This is a very real danger. For example. I've read a number of reports about the large male who was moved from Ranthambore after he had killed four humans. In nearly each of them, the weight mentioned was different. He wasn't the only one.

I know it's quite a job, but it's the only way to get to decent tables. Good luck.

Excellent points Peter and if I may elaborate a little:

* In most of the Indian subcontinent ( with the exception of the Sundarbans ) tigers live in small isolated reserves surrounded by thousands of people, the sub-adult tigers are forced to spend an additional 6-12 months with their mothers during their fastest growth phases and attain almost adult size.

* Most of the readings in this thread are newspaper articles and Facebook posts , no scientific value and highly dubious...the perfect round numbers, the absence of equipment description or stomach content adjustment , hardly any mention to other readings commonly taken for sedated /dead animals ( length, tail length, shoulder height, hind foot length...etc) , having said that some have more details and verification from the biologist/veterinarian involved and seem reliable.

* Like most big mammals tigers show great size variation I have seen records of 70 kg males and others of almost 4 times that number, 65 kg females and an alleged 200 kg record, geographic, environmental, and genetic factors and even the individual may show major fluctuation throughout its life time and through different physiological states most available measurements of small samples are for healthy, prime-aged adults who are territory holders since they are the easiest to locate...territorial males are only 5-10% of the total population and less than a third of all males. So a large sample ( at least fifty ) would reduce erroneous conclusions.

* Biologist are interested in size but to a certain degree...the Oxford University team compiled great data about Hwange lions, Smuts measured almost 400 lions between Kruger and Kalahari, the Serengeti Lion Project from Frankfurt zoo and the joint Russian-American research team measured many Amur tigers. Veterinarian sources have more data about size than biological sources and their expertise are greatly needed since even an accomplished biologist like Dr Karanth had overestimated the weight of tigers on at least three occasions leading to fatal doses of the sedative and needless deaths of tigers.
Sedatives used in tranquilizing wild cats (e.g. midazolam , ketamine) have very narrow therapeutic index and a dose for an estimated 250 kg tiger would kill an actual 180 kg tiger, such unfortunate instances as well as the fear of accidents of sedated animals (e.g. drowning, falls) or the sedated animal getting attacked by conspecifics (especially in lions) or rival predators limits the attempts to tranquilize and measure valuable animals.

* Biologists accept 400-450 lbs ( roughly 180-200 kg) as  the size for an average Amur and non-Sundarban Bengal tiger and 450-500 lbs ( roughly 200-225 kg ) for a large individual these numbers were determined through a mixture of field measurements, zoo records, and credible hunting records, biologists are more interested in female weights since 3/4 of the female weight is what is used in determining biomass . Science strives to conserve tigers , their size is needed to determine their feeding ecology needs based on 5.5 kg/day/FEQ ( female equivalent) to ensure that sufficient prey base is present and protected.

* It amazes me how people are fascinated with the subject of size and less so with the conservation of tigers...whether the average tiger is 100kg, 150kg, 200kg, or 250 kg is immaterial when it remains endangered to critically endangered and very likely to vanish in less than a century.
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United States Pckts Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-15-2017, 03:34 AM by Pckts )

There is nothing small about the reserves in C. India, that's for sure. Pench and Kanha are absolutely massive with corridors still used by Tigers today and Tadoba is large as well, not nearly as gigantic as the other two I mentioned, especially Kanha. The density of people are in Nagpur, Mumbai or Delhi, the reserves have villages but they hardly make a dent in the massiveness of green vegetation in the reserves I mentioned above.

I do agree that most individuals would usually be territory holders but that doesn't mean much. In Kanha for instance, we only really know of a few individuals in who go back and forth from Kanha, Kisli and Mukki, but there are many zones and areas that have hardly no sightings and individuals that are rarely seen. But the density there is just as much, if not more. Just the terrain is different, within Kanha, the Sarhi zone is much more hilly than Kisli or Mukki for instance but yet the only male I spotted in Kanha was there and he is a male that is hardly ever seen. Tadoba has a large buffer area and a lot of zones go unexplored. It really depends on the sightings at the time, the forest is too large, any biologist must go off of what the guide says and they only know based off of talking to one another. So at any given time one zone may be a popular choice for sightings but that doesn't mean you get any sort of idea what density of tiger is there.

*This image is copyright of its original author


Biologists have also underestimated dosages as well, I'm not sure how accurate dosage estimations are to actual body weights. I also highly doubt that any biologist/veterinarian  can make educated weight estimates based off fleeting glimpses of a tiger. You don't get to see tigers for long periods of time, the few that actually give you "road shows" are very rare.
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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Netherlands peter Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-15-2017, 04:05 PM by peter )

Nice to see you post again, Dr. Panthera! Your input is much appreciated by many.   

Although all points raised in your post are of interest, those on (the effects of) sedation, average size and conservation deserve more attention. Conservation in particular still is a major issue in most regions:

http://www.poachingfacts.com/poaching-statistics/tiger-poaching-statistics/
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Canada Dr Panthera Offline
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(06-15-2017, 03:12 AM)Pckts Wrote: There is nothing small about the reserves in C. India, that's for sure. Pench and Kanha are absolutely massive with corridors still used by Tigers today and Tadoba is large as well, not nearly as gigantic as the other two I mentioned, especially Kanha. The density of people are in Nagpur, Mumbai or Delhi, the reserves have villages but they hardly make a dent in the massiveness of green vegetation in the reserves I mentioned above.

I do agree that most individuals would usually be territory holders but that doesn't mean much. In Kanha for instance, we only really know of a few individuals in who go back and forth from Kanha, Kisli and Mukki, but there are many zones and areas that have hardly no sightings and individuals that are rarely seen. But the density there is just as much, if not more. Just the terrain is different, within Kanha, the Sarhi zone is much more hilly than Kisli or Mukki for instance but yet the only male I spotted in Kanha was there and he is a male that is hardly ever seen. Tadoba has a large buffer area and a lot of zones go unexplored. It really depends on the sightings at the time, the forest is too large, any biologist must go off of what the guide says and they only know based off of talking to one another. So at any given time one zone may be a popular choice for sightings but that doesn't mean you get any sort of idea what density of tiger is there.

*This image is copyright of its original author


Biologists have also underestimated dosages as well, I'm not sure how accurate dosage estimations are to actual body weights. I also highly doubt that any biologist/veterinarian  can make educated weight estimates based off fleeting glimpses of a tiger. You don't get to see tigers for long periods of time, the few that actually give you "road shows" are very rare.

The entire surface area of all Indian tiger reserves is less than 41,000 square kilometers ( roughly twice the size of Kruger , time and a half the size of the Serengeti eco-system, and smaller than Selous )...most of these reserves are smaller than 1000 square kilometers so no we can not say they are large areas.
In conservation biology we need a population of 250 breeding adults ( at least 500 tigers total ) to ensure the survivability of the population and not even a single reserve provides that therefore, working on tiger corridors to link tiger populations in near-by reserves is crucial ( a sub-Himalayan landscape, a central Indian landscape, a southern Indian landscape , and finally the Sundarban where tiger habitat is relatively well connected) this can ensure the gene flow and protect the species against epidemics and local extinction.

Territorial males have access to the females and to the highest concentration of prey, good resources improve health and condition so yes these tigers are likely to be superior to the sub-adults, young adults, and post-prime tigers that are pushed to fringe habitat where there is less prey and more importantly more conflict with man , these 'stressed animals' are less likely to rival their healthier , more fortunate territorial conspecifics.

Biologists tend to over dose tigers with sedatives since it was a recommendation by Smith et al. to over-dose than under-dose, as a pharmacist and a biologist I strongly disagree with that, a fatal dose of these medications ( through respiratory collapse ) is not much larger than the effective dose , a dose for an estimated 180-200 kg cat is sufficient most of the time and if it is not, a supplemental dose can be given to the semi-drowsy animal ( this was successfully done with tigers in India and Russia, and with lions in Africa).

And you are absolutely right tracking a solitary forest dwelling cat like the tiger is hard work but camera trap data helps with estimating density and population dynamics studies.
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Canada Dr Panthera Offline
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(06-15-2017, 03:22 AM)peter Wrote: Nice to see you post again, Dr. Panthera! Your input is much appreciated by many.   

Although all points raised in your post are of interest, those on (the effects of) sedation, average size and conservation deserve more attention. Conservation in particular still is a major issue in most regions:

http://www.poachingfacts.com/poaching-statistics/tiger-poaching-statistics/

Bedankt Peter!
With my three boys, my two pharmacies, and teaching medical and pharmacy students I am quite occupied. I love this forum and the quality of discourse and information here but my visits are likely to be sporadic.
Any one of us who had the pleasure of studying animals, working with them, or seeing them in the wild appreciates them and science strives to provide the data needed for the conservation effort...I sometimes think that in two hundred years our descendants could only find tigers ( and lions and other iconic animals) in museums samples and on the electronic pages!! That saddens me and I hope we all do our little bit in preventing that.
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United States Pckts Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-23-2017, 12:46 AM by Pckts )

Small compared to Selous or the Serengeti is one thing, Tanzania holds 16,830 lions in 2010, and the serengeti and Selous are the two largest reserves with in Tanzani, between the two, they hold 12,117 lions if you include Tarangire. So more than half of all lions in the world exist there, compare that to of 3,000 total tigers left in the wild and most likely less than that in india. From a scientific standpoint I get what you're saying but from a practical standpoint, the reserves are massive, they can easily sustain more tigers and we really only know about a fraction of the tigers that live there, so I certainly wouldn't say they live in small isolated reserves.

Camera traps are fantastic tools but they too aren't with out flaws, many animals have learned to avoid them and even the ones they use in Kanha are few and far between, usually in areas where tiger traffic is well known and easily accessible to humans. The forest of Kanha and Pench have many terrains and the higher you go the harder it is to trek obviously but that doesn't mean that it's hard for the tiger, tigers are as dense there as they are in other areas of the same reserve we just don't get to see them as often.

I agree that young or weak tigers are pushed to the fringes, but the area between prime habitat and the fringes are massive, at least the areas I saw. This is of course, to the naked eye. In terms of conservation, the amount of area they have left isn't satisfactory, they need more, much more. But if we were to sustain their existing territory from here on out and turn up our poaching patrol and destroy the wild animal trade, stop our intrusion into their remaining habitat, there is no reason that the remaining protected areas couldn't sustain a large and satisfactory ecosystem for the rest of time IMO.

I agree 100% with your assessment on dosage, you're the absolute expert and I differ to your expertise and enjoy your posts whenever you decide to do so.
@Dr panthera
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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Canada Dr Panthera Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-23-2017, 02:51 AM by Dr Panthera )

(06-23-2017, 12:25 AM)Pckts Wrote: Small compared to Selous or the Serengeti is one thing, Tanzania holds 16,830 lions in 2010, and the serengeti and Selous are the two largest reserves with in Tanzani, between the two, they hold 12,117 lions if you include Tarangire. So more than half of all lions in the world exist there, compare that to of 3,000 total tigers left in the wild and most likely less than that in india. From a scientific standpoint I get what you're saying but from a practical standpoint, the reserves are massive, they can easily sustain more tigers and we really only know about a fraction of the tigers that live there, so I certainly wouldn't say they live in small isolated reserves.

Camera traps are fantastic tools but they too aren't with out flaws, many animals have learned to avoid them and even the ones they use in Kanha are few and far between, usually in areas where tiger traffic is well known and easily accessible to humans. The forest of Kanha and Pench have many terrains and the higher you go the harder it is to trek obviously but that doesn't mean that it's hard for the tiger, tigers are as dense there as they are in other areas of the same reserve we just don't get to see them as often.

I agree that young or weak tigers are pushed to the fringes, but the area between prime habitat and the fringes are massive, at least the areas I saw. This is of course, to the naked eye. In terms of conservation, the amount of area they have left isn't satisfactory, they need more, much more. But if we were to sustain their existing territory from here on out and turn up our poaching patrol and destroy the wild animal trade, stop our intrusion into their remaining habitat, there is no reason that the remaining protected areas couldn't sustain a large and satisfactory ecosystem for the rest of time IMO.

I agree 100% with your assessment on dosage, you're the absolute expert and I differ to your expertise and enjoy your posts whenever you decide to do so.
@Dr panther

Nothing would please me more than having tigers fill all possible habitat and build up a robust population ensuring genetic enrichment and the future of the species, however your "optimism" is not shared by tiger biologists or all tiger conservation specialists, we need to consider the following:

* The Central Indian landscape is a promising habitat with several TCAs ( Tiger Conservation Areas)

* Tigers like all solitary large carnivores need massive territories a 1000 square kilometer reserve would provide space for about 100 adult tigers ( space wise)

* Tigers also need sufficient prey base ...an empty forest may have enough space but what would tigers eat? They can't live on muntjac, monkeys, and rodents. The Russian far east forests have enough undisturbed space but barely any prey ( tiger density less than 1/100 square kilometers) , In Sumatra, Malaysia, and Thailand there are massive protected areas but then again not enough prey ( tiger densities 1 to 4 tigers/100 square kilometers ) ..we need to build up the prey base and conserve it to protect tigers ( food wise).

* India has 1.2 billion people more than the population of any continent except Asia , hundreds of millions of Indians live in rural areas and are poor, their livelihoods may depend on resources in tiger habitat and the conflict seems inevitable, the lessons of Panna and Sariska were very painful ( where poachers wiped out the tigers there and we needed to re-introduce them ) active anti-poaching effort is crucially important.
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Netherlands peter Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-23-2017, 04:35 AM by peter )

(06-23-2017, 12:10 AM)Dr Panthera Wrote:
(06-15-2017, 03:22 AM)peter Wrote: Nice to see you post again, Dr. Panthera! Your input is much appreciated by many.   

Although all points raised in your post are of interest, those on (the effects of) sedation, average size and conservation deserve more attention. Conservation in particular still is a major issue in most regions:

http://www.poachingfacts.com/poaching-statistics/tiger-poaching-statistics/

Bedankt Peter!
With my three boys, my two pharmacies, and teaching medical and pharmacy students I am quite occupied. I love this forum and the quality of discourse and information here but my visits are likely to be sporadic.
Any one of us who had the pleasure of studying animals, working with them, or seeing them in the wild appreciates them and science strives to provide the data needed for the conservation effort...I sometimes think that in two hundred years our descendants could only find tigers ( and lions and other iconic animals) in museums samples and on the electronic pages!! That saddens me and I hope we all do our little bit in preventing that.

Dutch roots, Doc? Anyhow. 

I suspected you was a busy man right from the start, but it seems it was a bit of an understatement. A family, two pharmacies and teaching in between means you no doubt face a full agenda most of the time.  

I hope your prediction will prove to be too pessimistic, but I agree things do not look good at the moment. We desperately need a different outlook, but it seems the thirties of the last century are getting closer all the time. 

This forum is our attempt to contribute to a different view. I hope you will find the time to help us out every now and then, as we could do with a bit of good old quality.
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