Astounding pictures of rare Melanistic tiger in Odisha, India surprises many
Remember the incidence where a photographer’s (Shaaz Jung) five years of hard work led him to capture the astounding pictures of the only Melanistic leopard in India? In India’s Nagarhole National Park, this black panther named ‘Saya’ means Shadow left many in a state of shock. But this was not just the end! After ‘Saya’ which resembled ‘Bagheera’ from ‘Jungle Book, ‘ here are the flattering pictures of rare melanistic tigers. They were found only in India’s Simlipal Tiger Reserve, which is situated in Odisha.
Here is a quick introduction to the novel for those who are unaware of ‘The Jungle Book.’ Written by Rudyard Kipling, this exceptional novel features Mowgli, a fictional orphaned boy. Surprisingly he was brought up amongst the wild animals in Pench National Park in what is known as the heart on India, i.e., Madhya Pradesh.
While ‘Saya’ was compared to ‘Bagheera,’ our new wild beauty with pitch black and extraordinarily broad stripes shows similarity to ‘Sher Khan.’ The tiger king named ‘Sher Khan‘ is another character from the much-reputed novel. Interestingly the character became more famous due to Soviet and Disney cartoon adaptations. No wonder, spotting of the two aforementioned rare species make us believe in the existence of the characters from the book.
Interestingly, ‘Sher Khan’ flaunts stripes that are thicker and broader than those possessed by the normal tigers. Furthermore, the excessive black pigment in animals is due to a phenomenon known as ‘Melanistic’.
Indeed the photographs of the black beauty featuring broad stripes have made animal lovers go gaga over it. While some expressed their happiness to discover something new, others were simply unaware of many tigers left in the Simlipal Tiger Reserve.
Experts highlight the increasing trend of melanistic tigers on inbreeding and genetic mutation. The world’s attention has now been shifted to melanistic or black breeds reproduced by the tigers in the sanctuary.
It was in 2007 that the first melanistic tiger was spotted in the Simlipal Tiger Reserve. This happened because of the camera traps that were positioned by the researchers from the Wildlife Institute of India.
The Odisha Forest Department conducted a recent census and marked the presence of 6-7 melanistic tigers out of 29 tigers in reserve. This count includes cubs as well.