Table of Contents
Journal of Ecosystems
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 351756, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/351756
Research Article

The Range of Prey Size of the Royal Bengal Tiger of Sundarbans

1Sundarbans Tiger Reserve, Institute of Environmental Studies and Wetland Management, DD-24, Sector-I, Salt Lake City, Kolkata, West Bengal 700 064, India
2Department of Botany, University of Kalyani, Nadia District, Kalyani, West Bengal 741235, India

Received 25 May 2013; Revised 1 October 2013; Accepted 15 October 2013

Academic Editor: Winn J. Huang

Copyright © 2013 Subrat Mukherjee and Neera Sen Sarkar. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Relatively little is known about the feeding habit of the Royal Bengal Tiger of Sundarbans and the relative biomass of individual prey base species that the predator consumes during each kill. This is the first attempt to collect such data from the study area. Data sets of two phases have been used. Identification of undigested remains of 214 tiger scat samples was carried out. A comparison with Sundarbans tigers in zoo has been made. In its natural habitat, the tiger consumes more of spotted deer, followed by wild boar, rhesus monkey, and water monitor. Though the tiger consumes a relatively low proportion of small prey species to meet its dietary requirements, it gains importance in the present perspective. Significant increase is noted in the relative number of prey species consumed in the second phase, which correlates well with increased prey availability. Hypotheses formulated to find the difference in prey biomass and relative number of prey consumed have been tested statistically. A significant difference in terms of relative number of prey consumed only was derived which has been qualitatively correlated with the positive effect of increased vigilance, as revealed by secondary data, on conserving tiger habitat vis-a-vis the increased prey availability in Sundarbans.