National Animal of India: History, Characteristics, Protection Measures

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Feb 22, 2022, 11:35

The Tiger or Panthera Tigris is the National Animal of India. While there are many tiger species across the world, in India we have the Bengal Tiger. It is one of the biggest in the wild cat family.

A third of the world's tiger population can be found in India. The total estimate of the tiger population in India was 2967, a marked improvement compared to the 2226 tigers according to the 2014 census. Project Tiger is the reason why India has 70% of the global tiger population. 

History of Our National Animal

The existence of the Bengal Tiger, the National Animal of India, dates back to about 12000 to 16500 years in the Indian subcontinent since the Late Pleistocene age. Due to poaching and loss of habitat, the tiger count fell to under 2500 in 2011. The Bengal Tiger can be found in India, Southern Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. 

Characteristics of Tigers

Here are some of the characteristics of the National Animal of India


  • Coat: Light to yellow-orange
  • Stripes: Dark brown to black
  • Total Length: 270 to 310 cms

Body Weight and Size:

  • Adult male weight: 227 kg
  • Adult female weight: 160 kg
  • Tooth Size: 7.5 to 10 cms
  • Skull size: Around 15 inch

Important Measures for the Protection of Tigers

Some of the important laws in India for the protection of tigers include: 

  • Project Tiger: This was started in 1973 to protect the habitat of the tiger. The project created tiger reserves where surplus animals could be moved to nearby forests. 
  • Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972 was constituted for the protection of tigers.

Top 10 Tiger Reserves in India

  • Ranthambore Tiger Reserve Rajasthan

This 1.134 sq. km reserve is one of the largest in India for Bengal Tigers. It used to be the hunting ground for the Royal Jaipur Maharajas. 

  • Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve, Uttarakhand

This is considered the best tiger reserve in India. This 500-sq km national park was formed in 1936. 

  • Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh

This is also rated as one of the top reserves in India due to the high density of tigers. This reserve is part of the Bandhavgarh Fort. 

  • Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve, Andhra Pradesh

With an area of 3,728 sq km, this is the largest tiger reserve in India. It was established in 1983. 

  • Sunderbans Tiger Reserve, West Bengal

This is the most recognized home to the Bengal Tiger. This 1330.10 sq km tiger reserve was formed in 1984.

  • Sariska National Park, Rajasthan

This top-ranked tiger reserve is located near our national capital, New Delhi, and measures 881 sq km.

  • Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kerala

This wildlife reserve has a large population of Bengal Tigers. 

  • Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Karnataka

One of the biggest tiger reserves, it has a large population of big cats. The area is 868.63 sq km.

  • Kanha Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh

Ranked among the biggest tiger reserves in India, the Kanha Tiger Reserve is also the largest national park in the state. It measures 940 sq km.

  • Manas National Park, Assam

Covering an area of 500 sq km, the Manas National Park is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A healthy population of tigers can be found here.

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FAQs About National Animal of India

  • What is the National Animal of India?

Our national animal is the tiger. 

  • Where can the National Animal of India be found? 

Tigers can be found in the different wildlife reserves in India like the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve, Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, etc. 

  • What is the population of the National Animal of India? 

According to a 2018 survey, the tiger population in India is 2967. 

  • What percentage of the global tiger population can be found in India?

About 70% of the global tiger population is in India.