A tiger usually roams its home range, which can be an entire national park. But more importantly it marks out its territory, and each adult male commands a domain as large as 60sq km. It will not allow a rival male to enter its territory, and there are frequent fights when there are overlapping males.
“The territorial instinct is essentially for mating, and the male tiger usually tries to keep a harem of four to five females, and if there is enough prey, the tiger does not move about much,” says tiger ecologist Chiranjibi Pokhrel. “If it is already crowded within its territory, there is usually no place for a leopard, and it might prefer to keep out.”
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A tiger census in 2018 showed that Bardia National Park in the western plains of Nepal had 87 tigers, up from 50 in 2013, and only 18 in 2009. Bardia is regarded as the best success story in the revival of the tiger population in Nepal.
However, like Chitwan National Park, Bardia may also be reaching the saturation point for tigers because of prey limitation. One of the factors affecting the number of deer, wild boar and other ungulates has been a severe water shortage inside the park in the dry season. This has prompted Bardia and Chitwan to create watering holes fed by tubewells.