An extremely rare and endangered black tiger was spotted by an animal lover in the Indian state of Odhisa which is stunning the internet.
The black tiger — more precisely, a pseudo-mutant Royal Bengal tiger that has gotten black fur instead of the typical orange, because of a rare genetic mutation was spotted by Soumen Bajpayee while on an outing in the nature reserve.
“I didn’t have any idea about melanistic tigers. Then suddenly it appeared from the woods, stayed for few seconds, and walked back behind the trees,” Soumen was quoted as saying by The Sun.
Melanism is caused because of a genetic defect where black pigments overpower the other colors making the fur, skin look dark.
It is thought that there are only six of these so-called black tigers in the world. These tigers who have an exotic black fur covering their usual orange coating are not a separate species but are a variant of the regular ones.
Otherwise, India is the world’s largest reservoir of tigers in the wild, with almost 70% of the world’s tigers roaming in the Indian jungles, including the iconic Royal Bengal.
Soumen, an amateur photographer, and a Masters student, who went to the Eastern Indian forest to witness tigers and monkeys, initially could not realize what he saw when the black tiger came.
He felt ‘grateful’ and was ‘bewildered’ to see the enigmatic beast came and sit in front of his eyes which he was least expecting.
“We hope that these tigers mate with other tigers so that we have chance to get more melanistic cubs,” Soumen said.
The black tigers, a presumed product of inbreeding and rarest of the rarest genetic mutation are smaller in size as compared to the original counterpart. In 2016, there were only a few dozens left in Odhisa.
The black variant of other animals is visible including black or melanistic leopards, the well-known black panther, black or melanistic rattlesnake, black fawn, black wolf, black king penguin, melanistic black red fox, and even one of the lizards that develop pitch-black looks.
Tigers in India, albeit the world’s largest home to these majestic blog cats, are threatened by the bane of poaching, shrinking wildlife due to rapid urbanization, and to some extent lack of effective government intervention.
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