Like most of us I have known about white tigers but I never knew that black tigers also existed. Black panthers yes, but never heard of black tigers. Logically speaking, if tigers can be white why couldn’t they be black? It is all a matter of pigments – melanism actually that causes the generally known colour of skins or hair to go haywire, so to say.
The Down to Earth magazine in its current issue has reported sighting of black tigers in Simlipal Tiger Reserve in Odisha. The tigers were photographed with the help of camera-trap. A scanned copy of the published photograph is below.
A little research revealed that black tigers have had a long history. There have been reports of sighting of absolutely black tigers – say, like black panthers and there have been reports of black tigers with stripes of lighter black shades. Looks like, Odisha had registered a number of sightings. The ones photographed at Simlipal are, however, partially black with the stripes on the hind side and shoulders pronouncedly black. Closer to the camera, the black tiger looks pretty well-fed and a trifle aggressive even though the camera has caught only its profile.
12th April 2017