The tiger leads a solitary and nocturnal life. With better vision at night than during the day, it also relies on its exceptional hearing to hunt after sunset.
The felines’ prey are also more active during the night. Daytime weather is often too hot to cover long distances looking for food. Also, some of the plants making up their prey’s diet contain more water after the sun has gone down.
To find its prey, the tiger listens carefully to the sounds of the forest in order to hear its next potential meal, even before seeing it. Morphologically unable to run over very long distances, it needs to get close to the animal to hunt it. It lies in wait in the shadows and then pounces. The darkness increases its chances of success.
Finally, marking its territory is another of this feline’s main night-time activities. Although tigers are not usually aggressive during chance meetings (unless the habitat is too restricted or lacking in prey), they don’t generally share their living area with tigers of the same gender; each male has a territory that covers those of several females. To let its peers know that it is the only one reigning over the area, it leaves evidence marking the route of its night-time walks (odours, faeces, claw marks on trees…).
Collecting information about the tiger is difficult in these conditions and over vast areas. This is part of the work carried out by our partner organisation Aaranyak in the state of Assam, India. The main objective of this conservation programme is researching the tiger, its habitat and prey. As well as analysing its tracks and markings, the organisation observes the feline through images taken by an automated photography system that it has installed in several key forest locations.