BLACK TIGER (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     27th January 2024        
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Context: There have been mixed reactions from wildlife experts and activists after the Odisha government decided to set up a black tiger safari, the first of its kind in the world, near the Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR).

Black Tiger

  • About: A black tiger is a rare colour variant of the tiger, and is not a distinct species or geographic subspecies.
  • IUCN Status: Endangered
  • Population in India: Similipal reported 16 tigers, with 10 being melanistic.
  • Reason of black colour: So-called black tigers are due to pseudo-melanism. Pseudo-melanistic tigers have thick stripes so close together that the tawny background is barely visible between stripes.
  • Presence: Melanistic tigers have been recorded only in the Similipal Tiger Reserve in Odisha. As per the 2022 cycle of the All India Tiger Estimation, 16 individuals were recorded at Similipal Tiger Reserve, out of which 10 were melanistic.

Similipal Tiger Reserve

  • About: Similipal is a tiger reserve in the Mayurbhanj district in the Indian state of Odisha covering 2,750 km2 (1,060 sq mi).
  • Located: In the Mayurbhanj District of Odisha’s northernmost region.
  • Declared as: Tiger Reserve in the year 1956 under Project Tiger in May 1973.
  • UNESCO Biosphere Reserve: Declared in 1994 by the government of India\.