The infographic below tells you in general terms how tigers in the wild like to have a home range (a parcel of land which they call their home) which includes the home ranges of sometimes several and more females. In human terms, it is a highly misogynistic society. It’s a bit like a harem and harems still exist in human society.
The tiger land tenure system falls under the heading of ‘social organisation’. Tigers live and hunt by themselves and encounter one another when travelling, and males obviously associate with females when mating. Under their land tenure system access to females is more readily available than it might be under a different system.
In general, the tiger’s land tenure system is flexible and it depends upon the environmental circumstances. Tigresses tend to establish and maintain relatively small exclusive ranges where they hunt and raise their young.
They are loyal to their home range and individual females can occupy the same territory throughout their reproductive lives.
Nepal and India
The average size of a tigress’s home range will depend upon the circumstances but in a prey-rich area it might be around 10 km² and sometimes up to 51 km². It’s about prey density. Can the tigress find prey in adequate numbers within a certain space?
As is seen in the infographic, adult male tigers maintain exclusive ranges between other male tigers but their territories being between 2-15 times larger than those of females, encompasses the home ranges of females. There might be up to 7 female home ranges within one male home range.
For males, the most sought-after resource is females rather than food!
The home range sizes mentioned above refer to Asia such as in India but they are much larger in Russia. I’m referring to the Russian Far East where the range size of female and male tigers are estimated at 200-400 km² and 800-1000 km² respectively. These are huge ranges but the same principles apply as per the Infographic.
In Russia, each male range overlaps those of 1-3 females. And interestingly, the home ranges of males fully overlap but they have a timeshare method in place as males do not tend to use the same area at the same time. This is entirely plausible bearing in mind the huge size of their home range.
The ranges of tigers in Sikhote-Alin in the Far East of Russia, are about 10-20 times larger than those in Chitwan National Park.
As you might expect, in classic feline style, tigers mark territory through urine scent marking just in the same way that domestic cats do, and in scraping the ground. No doubt this helps to run the timeshare system that I mention above.
Scent marking also serves to bring animals together for mating purposes. Tigers scent mark intensively when they are establishing a territory.
One tiger in a prominent national park in India sprayed an average of 49 trees per month when establishing a territory. A long-term resident female in an adjoining range visited the same stretch about half is often and sprayed about 25 trees per month.
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