Nepalese tigers living in the Himalayan foothills, turned from day to night animals to encounter fewer hunters and local residents, zoologists say in an article published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Bengal tigers are among the largest predators in the world. In size they are somewhat inferior to their Amur "cousins", but this is offset by a high number of these animals — about 2-4 thousand. Most of them live in the so-called Teran — wetlands in the foothills of the Himalayas in India and Nepal. Tigers prefer to hunt wild animals, but the old and sick cats may attack livestock and sometimes become cannibals.
Group of biologists led by Jianguo Liu (Jianguo Liu) from Michigan State University in East Lansing (USA) follows the lives of tigers in Chitwan National Park in Nepal.
According to researchers, the national park is home to about 120 tigers, whose territories are often side by side with the Nepalese villages along the border Chitwan.
"This is a fundamental conflict over resources. Tigers and people need the same good. If we build on the ideas that the Tigers need a separate living space for survival, there will always be conflict. So, if we think about the people, the Tigers will be in the red, and vice versa, "- said one of the study participants Neil Carter (Neil Carter) from Michigan State University in East Lansing.
Liu and his colleagues decided to test how the tigers prevents human life in their "ancestral lands", located on the territory of the national park and surrounding forests hundreds of cameras, camera traps. These automatic devices photographed predator from both sides, which allows the identification of each tiger by the unique pattern of stripes on his skin.
Scientists are continuously collected pictures for two years, watching the "daily routine" of tigers and other animals from the forest Chitwan. According to scientists, the National Park was a very busy place — on trails Chitwan wandered not only humans and tigers and other large carnivores and herbivores, including sloth bears, leopards, rhinos, elephants, deer and wild boar.
After reviewing all the pictures, the authors found an interesting phenomenon — the presence of people in the Chitwan Tiger went from "around the clock" in nocturnal animals. This is reflected in the fact that tigers minimize its activity in the daytime and come out to hunt in those evening hours when the villagers left the forest.
The researchers believe that this behavior is "King of the Jungle", suggests the possibility of co-existence of tigers and people even in relatively densely populated areas without harm to the animals and residents.
"Tigers are very good feel in Chitwan. They have a lot of food, a forest grows outside the national park, and the number of poaching remains low. Area Chitwan constantly visited by tourists and locals, the presence of which the Tigers seem to have adapted to change their habits," — concludes Carter.