Wild Baby Bengal Tiger
Living in the forests of India, this 6-month-old baby Bengal Tiger is learning everything she needs to know about how to be a good tiger. She is still very young and playful with a long way to go before she can be independent. She has been practising how to crouch and pounce (mum is a great target) which she thinks is tremendous fun! One day she will be a big, strong, fearsome hunter but right now she’ll leave it to mum.
The tiger is the largest member of the feline family with a great roar that can be heard as far as two miles away. The Bengal tiger may be the most iconic out of all 5 remaining species and is even considered charismatic megafauna, a large animal with such symbolic value and appeal that they are often used to gain popular support. With its beautiful striped coat and majestically strong limbs, it’s not surprising why. It is the national symbol of both India and Bangladesh.
Tigers are independent creatures, only coming together for mating or on special occasions when food is plentiful. Otherwise, each tiger aggressively marks their territory and stay within the confines of their home range. A male will maintain an extra-large home range so he can have exclusive rights to multiple females which overlap with his territory. A mother will give birth to between 1-4 cubs in a den she has found in either tall grass, thick bush, or a nice cave. The cubs are born completely helpless with their eyes and ears closed and covered in a thick woolly fur that they will shed when they are 3 and a half to 5 months old. They suckle for milk until they can start to eat solids at around 2 months old. Once they have reached this milestone the cubs will start to follow their mum out on her hunting trips, learning everything they need to know. At around 2-3, they have learnt everything they can from their mum and will start to look for their own territory, moving out of the family unit and becoming independent.
Tigers are carnivores and stealthily hunt, using their stripes as camouflage, to take down their prey, sometimes as big as an elephant! They very rarely attack humans, tending to avoid them instead. On the off chance they do, it is usually because they are sick and cannot hunt normally or there is not enough food.
All tiger species are endangered and the Bengal tiger has the biggest population of them all, a very sad fact when there are thought to be fewer than 2,500 left. Their biggest threat is poaching. They are killed for their beautiful fur, their bones and body parts for use in traditional Chinese medicines, and by trophy hunters. Their use in medicines has had no proven efficacy. Their habitat has also been badly degraded and fragmented by logging and the ever-encroaching human presence. They also suffer from retaliation from humans who will kill them if they attack their livestock.
HOW TO HELP
Based off real animals that Gillie and Marc met while studying, the public will be able to meet individual animals. This will help them to realise that there are apes with unique personalities, thoughts and emotions. The loss of one individual is just as devastating as losing an individual human.
With public art, more people will come into contact with these sculptures, will stop and consider them, will take a photograph, and will discuss this with their friends and family. Through this increased exposure, the message of love, family, and conservation will be spread much further than any piece of art in a gallery ever could. It will bring people into close contact and will help them to fall in love. With love comes a greater urge to want to create a change and save the great apes.
The sculpture will be aligned with the hashtags #LoveTheLast and #wildaboutbabies to raise unparalleled awareness about the sculpture’s cause across the globe.
To help protect the great apes you can adopt a chimp and help them via the WWF: https://www.worldwildlife.org/