Black Tigers - 1:
Introduction To Melanism | 2:
Early Evidence Of Black Tigers | 3&4:
The C.T. Buckland Black Tiger Story
5: Black Tigers Of Similipal Tiger Reserve | 6: A Colour Image!
But we now know the black tiger is not a case of mistaken identity. As demonstrated by the images on this site, there is physical evidence of their existence in the form of several pelts. A black cub has also been born in captivity, but this was killed by its mother.
Melanistic tiger skin:
In October 1992 the skin of a melanistic tiger was taken from a hunter and smuggler at Tis Hazari, south Delhi. The eight and a half foot pelt had black on the top of the head and back, while the sides were striped over a black ground colour. This skin was placed on show at the National Museum of Natural History, New Delhi, in February 1993. Though the source remains unknown it provided the first physical proof of melanistic tigers. They could no longer be denied. Tiger Territory has been unable to obtain a photograph of this pelt.
Similipal Tiger Reserve:
(Note: Similipal is often seen miss-spelt as Simplipal. Many areas of India are incorrectly spelled and the incorrect terms are propagated by the most amazing places. The official Web site of Project Tiger, run by the Indian Government, actually has this area spelled wrongly. Thanks to Tiger Territory attempts are now being made to rectify the situation)!
The skins shown on this page came from Orissa's Similipal Tiger Reserve in India, an area which is becoming well-known for the melanistic tigers within the region. Between 1975 and 1976 sightings were particularly frequent and along with these a single dark specimen was killed.
On July 21st 1993, a young boy shot a melanistic tigress with a bow and arrow, near the village of Podagad, (this act was one of self-defence). Upon first examination, the ground colour appeared to be black. The lower and abdominal stripes were described as white, and those on the back as brownish-yellow. As will be seen, this description was not quite accurate. Significantly, the tigress was both photographed and filmed. It is pictured here.
New details emerge:
With information gleaned from the above pelts a little more information has come to light about the black tiger:
It appears that the incidence of dark and melanistic tigers is on the increase, though no one can be certain of this. Sighting even the standard orange tiger in the wild is a rare event, the chances of seeing an aberration in colour are virtually minute. An increase in the number of melanistic tigers holds great implications for the future conservation of the species though there could be several reasons for the growing number of reports: