While some of us are yet to spot the common tigers, some others are already rubbing shoulders with exotic animals like a rare black tiger. It’s no wonder that the pictures of the tiger have gone viral, which you need to see if you haven’t already. By Amitha Ameen
— Strange Sounds (@Strange_Sounds) November 5, 2020
In what has probably happened only a handful times in the past, an extremely rare black tiger has been spotted in Odisha. The animal is so rare that it is almost mystical in nature. So when photographer Soumen Bajpai spotted one and more importantly documented it, of course, the internet could not keep calm.
Bajpai spotted the rare animal which is on the verge of extinction in Eastern Odisha’s Nandankanan Sanctuary. “While I was watching various birds and monkeys in the trees, I suddenly saw something which looked like a tiger but not like a usual tiger. Back then I didn’t have any idea about melanistic tigers. It suddenly appeared from the woods, stayed for a few seconds, and walked back into the trees,” said Bajpai (as reported on NDTV).
Magnificent pictures of a rare Black Tiger revealing the #wildlife diversity in India. #Wildlife lover stumbles upon a melanistic #tiger which in India is found only in Odisha. @odishawildlife @moefcc #blacktiger #NaturePhotography #wildlifephotography https://t.co/rdSkwwlYNB pic.twitter.com/48KBwApnFp
— Parimal Nathwani (@mpparimal) November 6, 2020
This tiger is one of the four tigers that were born to a tigress in Nandankan Sanctuary, out of which two were born melanistic. Since the sanctuary itself is housed inside a forest, the tigers are allowed to roam in the open, in their natural habitat. Previously, the presence of a melanistic tiger was reported in Odisha’s Simlipal Tiger Reserve in 1993 for the first time.
The black colour of the tiger surfaces owing to a genetic defect causing the animal to have thick black stripes instead of the usual golden stripes. According to a 2018 tiger census, black tigers have drastically reduced in numbers. And, Odisha is home to 70 per cent of the world’s rare black-striped animals.