If seeing a Tiger is on your bucket list than India should be your next trip! The National Parks of Madhya Pradesh in Central India including Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Pench and Satpura are some of the best places in the world to see Bengal tigers. While Bandhavgarh has the highest density of tigers, this also comes with crowds. Kanha has the best overall game-viewing with the chance to see leopards, wild dogs and the Sloth Bear as well as tigers. Pench and Satpura are both quieter, less crowded parks that still offer an excellent chance of seeing a tiger. If you have your heart set on seeing a tiger, combining two parks over six nights gives you an excellent chance. If you want a trip more focused on India’s history and culture but want to try to see a tiger as well then aim for Ranthambore National Park. Ranthambore is in Rajasthan and is the easiest park to combine with a trip to India’s “Golden Triangle” which includes Delhi, Agra (the Taj Mahal) and Jaipur.
The tiger, the largest of the big cats and one of the world’s most iconic animals, is on the brink of extinction. Tigers are globally listed as "Endangered" on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Two of the remaining sub-species — Malayan and Sumatran — are "Critically Endangered.” Three sub-species, the Balinese, Javan and Caspian, are extinct and tigers have disappeared from Cambodia and Vietnam in the past decade. At the end of the 20th century 100,000 wild tigers roamed across Asia. Today, there are approximately 3,200 tigers are left in the wild. This population decline is driven by overhunting of prey species by local people, habitat loss, human-tiger conflict and poaching. Like rhino horn, tiger parts fetch a high price on the black market, due to demand for use in traditional medicine in parts of Asia. The Bengal tiger has the largest population of any of the living subspecies and, in a rare bit of good news, the Government of India saw an increase in wild tigers in their 2014 census; 2226 tigers up from 1,411 in 2006 and 1706 in 2010 (Read the complete Status of Tigers in India, 2014 here). That said the total number of wild Bengal tigers is still less than 2,500, half of the population just 10 years ago!
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